C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce opens in a dreary town later revealed to be Hell. The narrator boards a bus; he is eager to leave this dreary place, even though he does not know where the bus is headed. The journey begins, and the bus takes the passengers on a brief trip to the foothills of Heaven. The narrator realizes that he and his companions are ghosts, and that--though beautiful--the objects in this place are far more solid than they are themselves (thus walking on the grass is quite painful!).
Solid, brightly-clad figures--dubbed spirits--welcome the ghosts and invite them to journey further into this strange country and become solid. Each ghost has a spirit-guide who urges him or her to repent of sin, seek forgiveness, and enter into Heaven. The narrator observes many ghosts who are unable to let go of their sins and repent. These tragic ghosts return to the bus and ultimately to Hell.
The narrator is led by none other than George MacDonald, a writer who helped create the fantasy genre (and one of Lewis' personal heroes). MacDonald answers some of the narrator's questions and also informs him that he is dreaming. The book ends as he awakes from this dream.