In the 1880s, a group of rural Illinoisans formed a Christian sect that believed that a local woman, Dorinda Beekman, was the new Jesus Christ. When Mrs. Beekman died, a follower of hers claimed that her spirit lived inside him; as the new leader of the sect, he moved his followers into a barn and named it Heaven. At The Paris Review Daily, Dan Visel looks back on this odd chapter of history, as well as the novel it inspired. (Related: Eric Shonkwiler on the literature of the Midwest.)
“This year wasn’t short on the best kind of book: the type that polarizes opinion.” The New Republic reviews the most divisive books of the year. Included is our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire. Check out opening lines from the story and an interview with the author.