Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Book Notes No. 15 : God is Dead, Ron Currie

Still holding steady at twelve degrees at 9am. Perhaps the thermometer's stuck. Or perhaps the temperature's actually dropped but since the weekend we're doing everything an hour later... Today, in the damp and the drizzle you can't move out there for fire salamanders.

To Marco Gabbani, Cannobio's most glamorous photographer. Not to commission a portrait (I doubt even a photographer of Signor Gabbani's considerable skill could create an image of me that would appease my ageing vanity), but a handmade picture frame.

And not a cheap one either. Now don't get me wrong. I'm a virtually penniless housewife, and if I ever do have any readies I have plenty of other things to do with it, like, perhaps, buy a sweater that doesn't have a hole in it, or a pair of heeled shoes that fit (my feet spread in pregnancy rendering my entire pre-motherhood collection fit only for the kids' dressing-up box). I don't have money to throw around. But the work of art for which Signor Gabbani's framers will create a stunning cornice is so magnificent that I've thrown thrift out of the window. The picture is a masterpiece. The light and shade are more subtle than a Rembrandt, the lines more sophisticated than a Durer, the mythological resonance equal to a Bosch, the political perspicacity exceeded only by a Picasso. The artist is a genius in the making, with a career of major proportions ahead of him.

Have you twigged it yet? This wasn't any old picture; it was made on my own kitchen table by that idol of my middle years, AJ (aged 4). And American author Ron Currie has something to say about mothers like me...

God Is Dead starts from the startling scenario that God has manifested Himself on Earth once more. But in order to carry out His mission, He has been born as a Sudanese woman, and Sudanese women not being known for their longevity, is soon dead again. This information becomes common knowledge through the wild dogs that eat her rotting body as it lies in the scrub and thus acquire a part of the godhead. The following chapters are a collection of episodes in which we see some of the effects that the certain knowledge of God's demise might have on society at large. Priests and high school students commit suicide, there is a wave of civil unrest and people go to war over ideas.

Some look for other gods to worship. Some idolise their teenage loves, sending avalanches of text messages that never receive a reply. Some find new gods in their own children. In the worst cases, child-worshippers are sent for therapy - "Say after me, my child is not a genius, my child is happily average...My child is not Miss World 2020, she is just cute...". Have you ever tried disillusioning a doting mother? Curry's 'Child Adulation Prevention Psychiatrists' come in for similar amounts of abuse.

Currie's book is imaginative, taut and brittle, with an unmistakeably American voice in the tradition of Hemmingway. There's not a word wrong here, and every word works hard. The post-Christian world evoked is not as you would imagine, chaotic, desperate, apocalyptic. People adjust. And what's most fascinating, perhaps, and where Currie is at his most darkly funny is when he's making it clear that this godless future is, in fact, our present, just with bells on.

So, while you read the book - which I recommend - perhaps I'll try to find a way to avoid telling M. how much I paid for the frame.


Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007, 2008. All rights reserved. Please ask first.

5 comments:

Vanessa said...

Louise -- you don't seem to have noticed you've topped 15,000 clicks! Congrats.

Anonymous said...

My problem is my son, the genius, really is the most beautiful and wonderful boy in the known universe.
I try not to tell him of course but sometimes it dose slip out, he just looks at me and says "I know" such a modest child, but, and this is my problem, he appears to be a left brainer and myself being a righty long to see a picture I could frame or stories I could read but all I get are A's on a report card. Life can be so cruel, in a funny way.

Louise said...

Now, Anonymous, stop hyperventilating, breathe deeply and repeat after me...

Jude said...

Sounds like my kinda book. Thanks for thereview.

CarmenC said...

He is pretty glamorous isn't he!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Book Notes No. 15 : God is Dead, Ron Currie

Still holding steady at twelve degrees at 9am. Perhaps the thermometer's stuck. Or perhaps the temperature's actually dropped but since the weekend we're doing everything an hour later... Today, in the damp and the drizzle you can't move out there for fire salamanders.

To Marco Gabbani, Cannobio's most glamorous photographer. Not to commission a portrait (I doubt even a photographer of Signor Gabbani's considerable skill could create an image of me that would appease my ageing vanity), but a handmade picture frame.

And not a cheap one either. Now don't get me wrong. I'm a virtually penniless housewife, and if I ever do have any readies I have plenty of other things to do with it, like, perhaps, buy a sweater that doesn't have a hole in it, or a pair of heeled shoes that fit (my feet spread in pregnancy rendering my entire pre-motherhood collection fit only for the kids' dressing-up box). I don't have money to throw around. But the work of art for which Signor Gabbani's framers will create a stunning cornice is so magnificent that I've thrown thrift out of the window. The picture is a masterpiece. The light and shade are more subtle than a Rembrandt, the lines more sophisticated than a Durer, the mythological resonance equal to a Bosch, the political perspicacity exceeded only by a Picasso. The artist is a genius in the making, with a career of major proportions ahead of him.

Have you twigged it yet? This wasn't any old picture; it was made on my own kitchen table by that idol of my middle years, AJ (aged 4). And American author Ron Currie has something to say about mothers like me...

God Is Dead starts from the startling scenario that God has manifested Himself on Earth once more. But in order to carry out His mission, He has been born as a Sudanese woman, and Sudanese women not being known for their longevity, is soon dead again. This information becomes common knowledge through the wild dogs that eat her rotting body as it lies in the scrub and thus acquire a part of the godhead. The following chapters are a collection of episodes in which we see some of the effects that the certain knowledge of God's demise might have on society at large. Priests and high school students commit suicide, there is a wave of civil unrest and people go to war over ideas.

Some look for other gods to worship. Some idolise their teenage loves, sending avalanches of text messages that never receive a reply. Some find new gods in their own children. In the worst cases, child-worshippers are sent for therapy - "Say after me, my child is not a genius, my child is happily average...My child is not Miss World 2020, she is just cute...". Have you ever tried disillusioning a doting mother? Curry's 'Child Adulation Prevention Psychiatrists' come in for similar amounts of abuse.

Currie's book is imaginative, taut and brittle, with an unmistakeably American voice in the tradition of Hemmingway. There's not a word wrong here, and every word works hard. The post-Christian world evoked is not as you would imagine, chaotic, desperate, apocalyptic. People adjust. And what's most fascinating, perhaps, and where Currie is at his most darkly funny is when he's making it clear that this godless future is, in fact, our present, just with bells on.

So, while you read the book - which I recommend - perhaps I'll try to find a way to avoid telling M. how much I paid for the frame.


Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007, 2008. All rights reserved. Please ask first.

5 comments:

Vanessa said...

Louise -- you don't seem to have noticed you've topped 15,000 clicks! Congrats.

Anonymous said...

My problem is my son, the genius, really is the most beautiful and wonderful boy in the known universe.
I try not to tell him of course but sometimes it dose slip out, he just looks at me and says "I know" such a modest child, but, and this is my problem, he appears to be a left brainer and myself being a righty long to see a picture I could frame or stories I could read but all I get are A's on a report card. Life can be so cruel, in a funny way.

Louise said...

Now, Anonymous, stop hyperventilating, breathe deeply and repeat after me...

Jude said...

Sounds like my kinda book. Thanks for thereview.

CarmenC said...

He is pretty glamorous isn't he!