You don’t often find allegorical novels. It’s a small genre of fiction that uses its characters and places to represent concepts, ideas or beliefs. An example of an allegory would be George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” or John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”. A good allegory makes the reader consider his/her moral, political or spiritual point of view.
In “New Town”, Bernard Dayman lies in a hospital bed. The nurse attending him thinks he has died. But in his mind, Bernard awakes in a strange place called Old Town. Due to over-mining and earth tremors, the land on which the town sits is unstable. Cave-ins and other nature disasters occur with regularity, and it is obvious that the residents cannot continue to live there indefinitely.
New Town is being constructed, but residents of Old Town have to apply to move there, and then wait for the appointed time to move there. Some residents stubbornly insist they will not move, and cling to their misguided belief that their town can be returned to its former condition. There are a number of realtors on Old Town that assist people with their efforts to move to New Town. Some people try to get there by having three letters of recommendation.
You don’t get very far into the story before you realize that it’s about the journey of Bernard’s life and where he will end up. He – and others in the story -want to move to New Town – which represents heaven. He is finally helped by Christian Godfrey, who represents Christ or God, who sees the desire in Bernard’s heart to go to New Town, although he has done nothing to deserve it, and has no one to write him a letter of recommendation. The Waiters group that Bernard ends up in seems to represent the people that have become believers in Jesus and are eager to move to their new heavenly home, but are stilling serving others here on this earth, much like a waiter in a restaurant.
The story makes the reader ponder the wonder of being able to go to heaven after this life. Just like Bernard, we can’t just get in by having people put in a good word for us, or by hoping that we can be deemed good enough by society to get in. The only way to get into heaven is by trusting in Jesus Christ to forgive our sins and guide the rest of our lives as we wait for the day when we travel to heaven.