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Reviewed by Anelynde Smit for Readers' Favorite
Inferno by Dante Alighieri, translated by J. Simon Harris, is a take on an old classic. Here we follow Dante from a dark forest where he cannot escape, surrounded by beasts; his only way out is through hell. He is guided by the poet Virgil through the nine circles of hell to ascend to heaven to find freedom. The circles are Ignorance, Lust, Gluttony, Wrath, Avarice, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and lastly Treachery where we find Satan. The book is translated by J. Simon Harris in a way that you can understand what Dante’s original vision was. The very detailed illustrations of not only Florance but also the circles of hell were fascinating. No one has ever translated Dante’s version quite like this. You will gain a new respect for the poet.
Inferno was a treat to read. Not only was the canto very well explained in the end but the illustrations were fun to see. You could follow Dante’s journey a lot better than the original. Dante’s Inferno, the first of the Divine Comedy, is not an easy read for even the most die-hard of poetry lovers, but this translation is great. I found myself once again transported and with the help of J. Simon Harris, it was so much easier to understand. At the bottom of each page was a little hint as to what was happening; when Dante fainted or it told us in which circle we were or even what beast we were seeing. This is an excellent book for lovers of the original. I highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the original and wants to understand it better.