Book Review: Spirited Life And Afterlife Stories By Mike Friedman

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Where Will You Venture After Life On Earth?

You Might Need An Emissary...

Nuelle, the emissary of the carriage to the Beyond, may be your escort one day. Where will you go next?
Nuelle, the emissary of the carriage to the Beyond, may be your escort one day. Where will you go next? | Source

Do You Have Questions About Life and Afterlife?

If you study philosophy, you have likely confronted the global religions and their alternatives to an afterlife. If you read science fiction or watch it in movies or on television, you no doubt have encountered many more alternatives to the next life, whether it is nonexistent, mental, physical, or other-dimensional.

All of this can raise more questions than answers can be provided by philosophy and religion.

If you have questions about what happens after the years we are granted on this planet - and even if you are sure where you will or will not go next - Mike Friedman offers two sets of stories offering alternative answers that warm the heart and bolster the mind to come up with even more answers..

Mr. Friedman knows what he is writing, certainly, and has won the annual Best HubPages Fiction Writer Award for a number of years.

The Carriage Driver is a unique collection of stories about the lives and backgrounds of individuals and how they were escorted into their next chapters.

Answers In The Footsteps Of A White Horse

Mr. Friedman knows what he is writing, certainly, and has won the annual Best HubPages Fiction Writer Award for a number of years. He is esteemed and supported by many faithful readers and one hopes that you will join them.

The Carriage Driver, with a sequel to appear in the future, is a unique collection of stories about the lives and backgrounds of individuals and how they are escorted into their next chapters. I think that you will be moved by at least some of these stories. In fact, many people continue to read the book several times.

Meet a white horse in this book and be captivated. Let yourself be intrigued by each alternative journey.

I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity. I want this adventure that is the context of my life to go on without end.

— Simone de Beauvoir, La Vieillesse

A Logical Choice For Considering The Afterlife

Michael Friedman is a logical choice of author to poke around in readers' minds in order to extrude creative thoughts about life and afterlife.

However, a site called Mediander.com, gave him the profile of a philosophy professor accidentally. What fun! Still, Mike makes philosophy of afterlife alternatives fun and easy to understand - something that many professors cannot achieve.

. From out of all this and more, Michael has created a set of stories about the physical and metaphysical that appeal to those outside university walls and to those who may never have thought about philosophy or what happens to humans after this life.

I am glad that he did this. Several of his stories are among my favorites of all stories from Ancient Days to Modern Times.

Who Is The Mysterious Nuelle?

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Who Is The Carriage Driver?

While one's earthly remains travel by coffin or urn of ashes to an end point, the long-time carriage driver in a top hat with his equine emissary Nuelle elegantly transports the real people departing this life.They all travel to different locales.

At the end of some of the driver's stories, you may wish that you could go along with the characters, their futures seem so compelling..

The departing souls enjoy a comfortable carriage ride, sometimes touring their hometown a final time before shimmering out of this dimension.

It is a much better ride than one would have with the boatman on the river Styx or on the Klingon Black Ship.

Sometimes, Nuelle is the only one who really knows what's going on in a particular case. This horse is always ready for the journey. So who is the real driver - the man, the horse, or both?

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Promises In Boston

Michael says in his own description of his book "This work presents the instances where a person’s life has led to a carriage ride to the Promised Land."

The book leads the reader to serene and/or stimulating thoughts in the current day as well. As a pastor once said, "Last Days!? These are our ONLY days, so we need to make the most of them."

But still, there is After.

The stories in this book encompass Boston, Massachusetts with place names that might be familiar to you. Other places may not be familiar at all - like the comfortable interior of the carriage drawn by Nuelle, who likes about half an apple for a snack every day.

The driver in the top hat is well dressed and kind, sometimes following Nuelle's lead as they gather souls for delivery to that Promised Land. Each individual has their own concept of it and some of these ideas are astonishing.

What might be called Heaven by many of us is located just past a way-station in the Beyond, called The Castle.

Castle In the Sky
Castle In the Sky | Source

Castle Options - Some Familiar, Some Not

In the other-wordly castle, the Traveler may meet friends and family, but even if (s)he meets no one else, (s)he enjoys the ministrations of a cordial staff. The Castle is pleasant and welcoming, a place to be nourished before going on.

Interestingly, such a place is found in certain religious teachings -- One pastor has described a glade under trees where angels bring food before one enters Heaven, for instance..

Travelers may rest a short while in the castle way-station and then journey on, or in some cases, they may even return to Earth for a special assignment mission. All the while, the carriage driver has his carriage, top hat, and horse at the ready.

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The Old High Silk Hat

Top hats can lead one to many places - like the Chocolate Factory, a Mad Tea Party, or the Promised Land. I imagine the carriage driver in the book to be someone like Fred Astaire or Patrick Stewart.

The way you wear your hat, The way you sip your tea, The mem'ry of all that No, no! They can't take that away from me!

— Fred Astaire in

They Can't Take That Away

Favorite Chapters

Each story is better than the last, but my favorites are likely the most unusual of the group:

  • The Aviarist - The gem-like colors of the world's birds bring to mind the rainbow, the light spectrum, flowers, and a jeweler's showcase. You may think of all those things as you read this engaging story. Do you know anyone who has collected colorful birds throughout a lifetime? What does one do with them ultimately? This story describes a beautiful option
  • The Pianist - Have you ever seen a piano in the company of angels? Is there music in Heaven? -- Many sources already say there is beautiful music there.

Other stories in this book focus on a trumpeter, children, couples, and individuals who come back to Earth rather than continue to the other side. And who takes people to "The Other Place" (no Heaven)? There seems to be a whole stable of them!

The Carriage Driver
The Carriage Driver

The first story in this anthology is good and grips the reader's attention, but each one following it is even better. When you reach the end, you want to return to the first one and start the journey anew.

 

Spirit In the Sky (Norman Greenbaum): Released in 1969

Consider Your Years Before The Carriage Ride

Will you be happy in your senior years?

Setting: It is around the the middle of the 21st century and you are in your 70s, 80s or 90s - are you happy? You could be!

As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.

— Criss Jami, Killosophy

So what if I'm ninety-three? So what if I'm ancient and cranky and my body's a wreck? If they're willing to accept me and my guilty conscience, why the hell shouldn't I run away with the circus? ... I'm not running away - I'm coming home!

— Sara Gruen, "Water For Elephants" book and film

As Lively As In Youth

The Quinn Moosebroker Mysteries
The Quinn Moosebroker Mysteries

This book captures the lives of an older man and an older woman who are still very lively and have adventures together that m,any young people would love to experience.

 
Quinn Moosebroker and Betty Atwood begin a long-time relationship at the 2nd Street Playhouse, a community theater whose members love old radio mysteries.
Quinn Moosebroker and Betty Atwood begin a long-time relationship at the 2nd Street Playhouse, a community theater whose members love old radio mysteries. | Source

Mystery Tonight!

Mysteries occur one after another in the lives of Quinn, Betty and his adult daughter. Some of these thrillers involve murder and others involve the backstories of classic pieces of art like those stolen during WWII raids by the Third Reich. We also hear about the lives of Quinn and Betty before the timeline of the book. The stories occur locally in Clearview Terrace, but take the characters to Europe more than once. The book has a pleasant variety.

The stories pack a lot of interest and action into the lives of an older couple. I hope the stories and the characters encourage older people to remain active as long as possible..

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A Man Needs A Trusty Auto

Quinn's major hobby is restoring and maintaining his 1946 wood-paneled Chrysler Town and Country (a "Woody") and an occasional trip to a book shop operated by Blake Knightly. The characters remind me of the inhabitants of the town of Pickaxe, Michigan in "The Cat Who" mysteries.

Another Helping Of Life

If you want to read about additional characters and their life events, you can try a copy of Mike's Emerald Wells Cafe and Pear Blossom Lane. The stories take place in and around a cafe diner in Emerald Wells, Texas and Mike says about this book: "It’s a western. It’s a poetry book. It’s a romance. It’s a food book. It’s the lost biography of the USA. In my heart, I am from Emerald Wells."

With over 400 pages of great characters and stories, this book is rated 100% at five stars out of five on Amazon.com.

You'll likely find something fascinating and engaging in any of these Michael Friedman books. No matter which ones you choose, they will give you entertainment and something to consider while you are figuring out where you will go after you leave Earth.

Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure

And I know there'll be no more tears in heaven

— Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton's Tears In Heaven

© 2016 Patty Inglish

More by this Author


Comments 18 comments

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 9 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Patty. Thank you for this. You have done such a nice job with this. Your description of the message is so focused. The character of the Carriage Driver and Nuelle seem to come to life with your telling of the story. You have also highlighted two of my favorite episodes The Avarist and The Pianist. Each of those were a pleasure to write.

I appreciate the mention of The Quinn Moosebroker Mysteries and also Emerald Wells Café. Emerald Wells Café brought joy as I published here on Hubpages. Your depiction of Quinn and Betty is very good, the message is clear, go out and enjoy your time here and together.

The internet has mislead you regarding my bio. You made me sound so scholarly, I hate to say anything.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 months ago from North America Author

mckbirdbks - Thanks a million for your comments, Mike!

Well, no matter what the Internet may say, I appreciate you as an author that can make philosophy live for your readers - no "mumbo jumbo" as I have heard it called in classrooms! lol I'll remove that bio if you like :)


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 9 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Patty. The reference to Medialander and Stanford are a different Mike Friedman. I do so appreciate your efforts here. Even without those two references, you have highlighted the Carriage Driver and Nuelle so very well.

Indeed no mumbo jumbo. Those that have lived a good life and are deserving, go on to their reward. That is what we have been taught.

A toast to our rewards.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 9 months ago

Patty, this is a wonder description of Mike's Carriage Driver.

I enjoy his series and I have enjoyed your making them Driver and Nuelle come to life.

I also enjoy the Moosebroker mysteries, my favorite where Betty and Quinn switch a painting for a phony and pass it off for the real McCoy.

Blessings Patty


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 months ago from North America Author

@Mike - The Internet has all kind of fun and not-so-much-fun mis-facts :) All fixed here, Professor and Sir, as said in a science fiction series I once read.

@Shyron E. Shenko - I appreciate your comments very much. The story about the painting is a really good one.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 9 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hi Patty - I was surprised when I found out I wrote all the Star Trek books. Heck, I might be wealthy if I had. haha


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 months ago from North America Author

Oh wow, will you autograph all of mine? lol


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 9 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

Comprehensive and heartfelt review of books that are classified as "favorites" on my shelves - excellent job, Patty - most well-deserved, dear Mike.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 9 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Patty, what a great job you've done here highlighting Mike's books and stories. They've captivated me along with his other works of fiction. It's like a mini-vacation reading about the folks at Emerald Wells Cafe and the afterlife is presented in The Carriage Driver as a joyous journey of hope, as is promised. Quinn and Betty's adventures take us on a different sort of journey where we have mystery and intrigue. Nicely done. Sharing this great review.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 9 months ago from The Caribbean

This review on Mike's book endorses another one I read just a few minutes ago. Sure would like to read it. Thanks!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 9 months ago from southern USA

Hi Patty,

You've done such a superb job here in your wonderful review of The Carriage Driver. I cherish my copy. Mike has a gift no doubt in his creative writing and more. He is also an all-around good guy who is humble about his writing. There is nothing else around like The Carriage Driver.

I bet Mike had a great imagination as a child too.

Peace and blessings


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 months ago from North America Author

@marcourjor - Thank you very much! The Carriage Driver series strongly grasped my attention, as I know it did yours. The series and more to come are blessings!

@PegCole17 - These are very nice stories to read over and over, aren't they? I think not many books can say that about themselves and the characters become real people to us.

@MsDora - I hope you have the opportunity to read the Carriage Driver collection and the sequel anthology when it comes out. So many novels today are full of violence and hate, that the Carriage Driver ids even more welcomed.

@Faith Reaper - I began thinking about who the Carriage Driver and Nuelle might be and Mike's very next story gave us the background. It was as if he'd read my mind when I chose the images for this Hub. Anyway, his work is important and becoming part of our lives. Be blessed!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 9 months ago from TEXAS

I'm all the more convinced that I must read Micael's book and that answers and clarifications I seek are to be found there! I'll have it in hand tomorrow.

Thank you, Patty, for your scholarly review!


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 8 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hi. Shyron. Thanks for your support of The Carriage Driver Series. Also, the Quinn and Betty stories were fun to write. Since they had a thread running through them it was actually fairly easy week after week to answer the question, ‘What comes next?”

Patty, that is funny, I should have carried a pen with me on all the book hunting and signed all the Star Trek books.

Hi mar. Thank you for classifying my titles as favorites. That is appreciated.

Hello Peg. The ‘gang’ at Emerald Wells Café had a good time. Those were the days. Poetry and pastry is how I explain it.

Hi MsDora. There are several episodes still posted on Hubpages for you to sample if you wish.

Hello Theresa. Thank you for your kind comments. You are appreciated.

Hello Nellieanna. Thank you. The Carriage Driver is a peek behind the curtain. I certainly hope you enjoy my excursions into the imagination.

Hello Patty. Thanks again for all your hard work putting together an overview of my work here on Hubpages. I am so glad you enjoyed the stories.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 8 months ago from TEXAS

I'm looking forward to it, Mike! (And I see my numb fingers omitted the 'h' from your name in my previous comment. So sorry.)


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 8 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Patty

The first one reminded me of Bunyan's 'Pilgrims progress'. It sounds like a series of 'enchanting tales'

Might have to go on my 'to read' list.

Lawrence


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 months ago from North America Author

Lawrence, I hope you like some of the stories as much as I do! Have a great read!


Charu Bhatnagar profile image

Charu Bhatnagar 7 weeks ago from India

Such nice review and well put together Hub. Loved it, thanks.

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