Life of an atheist is not easy. Ask me, I am one of them. The constant tug of war between thoughts to understand the concept of God, making an honest effort to understand people’s belief in an entity that they have never come across. The power with which people convince themselves that everything that is happening in their life is because of placement of some stars and planets, a belief that sometimes even makes humans turn into animals.
Last week I took a journey with one such fictional character, Ismael, who wanted to witness the heaven and hell. Who wanted to understand the force that drives people. I went on a twisted journey with Ismael through A.K. Asif’s Hell! No Saints in Paradise, and in the end, I was simply shocked at the imagination power of the author!
The story of Hell! No Saints in Paradise is set in the year 2050, where in New York lives Ismael, a Pakistani-American student who wants to go on a path of spiritual cleaning, to understand if heaven and hell exist or not? On the suggestion of a random date, he meets a sect of people who take a specified drug to go through a journey of their past and future. Ismael takes a similar journey, wherein he finds out his mission. He is to go back to his native place, Pakistan and make things up with his father, who is a prominent extremist in the Caliphate.
But Pakistan is not the same anymore, and to survive his time and complete his mission, he must pose like a true believer. But there are too many challenges to overcome. Djinn cats who have the capability to spy on people like Ismael, the Paradise water which entices people into believing the more Infidels they kill, the more their chances get better of entering into paradise. Kids buying suicide jackets for their birthdays, cricket converted into a game of murder. The Pakistan shown in Hell! No Saints in Paradise is simply unimaginable!
Helping Ismael with such tough conditions is Pir Pul Sirat and his loyal band of commanders, who along with Ismael want to restore the balance back. But, will they be successful against such odds?
Hell! No Saints in Paradise is the next level of imagination and satire. The powerful writing and the imagination that A.K. Asif has shown via this book is absolutely brilliant! Though such images may also lead to confusion in some of the reader’s minds, those who do not mix logic with situations present in the book will understand it in a much deeper way.
The only thing that bothered me was the length which led to stagnation at some points. Apart from that, Hell! No Saints in Paradise turned out to be an absolutely brilliant read for me! So make sure you grab your copy soon to get your free ride to heaven and hell.
P.S. One of the followers asked me whether I have started believing in God after reading this book, the answer is no. There’s a long bridge between me and God to cross, and me being me, I won’t take the first step.