Saturday, June 13, 2009

Book 1: Towing Jehovah by James Morrow

Allow me to first put it out there that James Morrow is a freaking genius.  I mean, really.  A genius.  
Now that you know that, allow me to explain the premise of this phenomenal novel:
God--that is, the bearded white male of the Bible--has died, and His body has fallen into the Atlantic Ocean.  Supertanker captain Anthony Van Horne is called in by none other than the agents of the Vatican to tow the Corpus Dei (the Vatican's name for God's body) to His grave in the Arctic.  Along the way, Van Horne has a host of difficult (and oft hilarious) obstacles to overcome, including a mutinous crew of sexually liberated pagans, off-site saboteurs, and his own personal baggage.
I don't know where he pulls this stuff from, but James Morrow has it going on.  His work is irreverent and hysterically sacrilegious.  I was hooked just by reading the back cover.  
The action in this book comes in peaks and lulls, which affords the characters time to develop outside of emergency/panic situation (which, believe me, there are a lot of).  It's well-paced, and written in this great tongue-in-cheek manner that I can't help but adore.  
I think what really got my attention with this novel was the manner in which Morrow manages to address a whole range of views on religion.  His characters include an ordained Catholic priest, a spiritually lost Jew, and a (literally) militant atheist.  Morrow toys with religion, and manipulates it in ways that force us to look at it (and its agendas) from unique angles.  His writing neatly side-steps irritating religion-bashing nonsense and skips right to the good stuff--the satire that, as it thumbs its nose at the religious establishment, provides an analysis of that establishment.  This is something we rarely see, in literature or otherwise.

I would happily recommend this book to everyone I know.  It's explicit, though, in a lot of ways (sexually liberated pagans.  'nuff said), so I'll put it out there as a 14+ novel instead.

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