A pleasant but undramatic travelogue of the afterlife, blending Kubler-Ross and Raymond Moody with Arthur Ford, Ruth Montgomery, and theosophist Bishop Leadbeater, among others. Matheson has refrained from the Gothic impulse and tried to orchestrate his occult and spiritualist research into a halfway believable story. Chris Nielson, a writer, is severely injured in an automobile pile-up and dies at the hospital. Even while attending his own funeral he finds it hard to accept the fact of the afterlife. His spirit guide Robert, a family member who died years ago, takes Chris under his wing and leads him about the new world, explaining how houses are built on the thought-plane, the botanical peculiarities, why the lake waters have such strange density and energy (they're just mind-stuff), and so on. The twist comes when Chris' beloved wife Ann kills herself in despair and goes to the plane of suicides. She is his soulmate and he must help her. So he gets Robert to take him through the lower regions, hells within hells, until they arrive at a reproduction of the Nielson home, now fallen into hopelessly chaotic disrepair, where Ann's soul lives in dark sludge. The two-person recognition scene holds the novel's only dramatic fire: will Chris spend Ann's 25-year unexpired life-term with her in this house? More plot and less metageography would have made a stronger book, but the inspirational values should carry this essay-novel to eager readers of the life-after-death nonfiction field.