Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Messiah of Morris Avenue: A Novel” as Want to Read:
The Messiah of Morris Avenue: A Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Messiah of Morris Avenue: A Novel

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  222 ratings  ·  38 reviews
From the bestselling author of Father Joe, a slyly comic, deeply spiritual novel that imagines the Second Coming--and an unlikely, lovably human new savior

Tony Hendra's Father Joe became a new classic of faith and spirituality--even for those not usually inclined. Now Hendra is back with a novel set in a very reverent future where church and state walk hand in hand. Fade-i
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Messiah of Morris Avenue, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Messiah of Morris Avenue

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 341)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This was SURPRISINGLY good - insightful, thoughtful, liberal, intuitive, subversive, and probably the first book I've ever read that made me think that someone REALLY has thought about life, the world, and Christianity and tried to figure out how they all fit together. Worth a read.
Leroy Seat
This was an intriguing book, one of the most thought-provoking novels I have read in a long time. I wish there was a way to give it at least 4.5 stars, for I thought it was that good. Rather than making comments on the plot or the contents, though, let me just share some of the noteworthy quotes:

“There’s one kind of person capable of certainty and another kind incapable of it. The second kind envies the first. The first doesn’t envy the second; doesn’t even know, in fact, by what right they’re a
Richard Sutton
If my son-in-law didn't work at an FDNY firehouse near Morris Avenue, I probably would not have bothered to read this book. It would have been a terrible loss. The writing is humorous, character-driven, but works mysteriously into full-blown biblical cross-references. Those of you who have spent some time in the New Testament will find this book really engaging.

We always seem to need someone or something to save our poor sad souls. The author contends that there is no shortage of miraculous spi
Conchita Campos
Apparently, the new Jesus is this Guatemalan kid named Jose who lives in the Bronx and performs various miracles around the neighborhood, all while trying to avoid the public spotlight and the backlash of an avid Christian right. Pretty funny stuff. A little too political but entertaining at the very least.
I got a $10 library fine because of this book!
Liked the idea better than the execution. I think he could have developed plot and characters more, but I give him credit for writing about Jesus when he had to know that critics and their ilk would not take him seriously given that kind of subject matter. Some quotes I liked:

"Screens of every kind kill meaning for those on them and for those watching them. People must talk to people; lives must touch lives. The Revelation will not be televised."

"Modern loneliness is physical as well as spiritua
WOW!! I have lent this book out to friends, because I think those in the Church definitely need a book like this. Hendra is not a "Christian", but nonetheless the love for Christ he shows in this book is astounding. He points out how beautiful Christ is for those of us who do follow Him, and also makes Jesus a person that even a non-believer would want to follow (I sense Hendra in this category). It's a recapitulation of the Jesus story in a modern context but also a very thought-provoking criti ...more
Tony duncan
Sep 13, 2008 Tony duncan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: politics and spirituality
Recommended to Tony by: brattleboro library
I confess I only got this book because it bears some similarity to my (almost finished ) novel.
As I began reading it I realized that it had very litle in common and was written totally differently. It also takes place in the future and i thought it was a little too cartoonish I almost was going to stop reading and read the Kite Runner, which barb highly recommended.
But I am glad I didn't stop. it takes place in an America maybe 10 years in the future , and a fundamentalist world view has pretty
Bob Oliver
I always enjoyed Tony Hendra's writing in the National Lampoon and thought I'd try this book when I came across it. I was really glad I did. The story follows fundamentalist religion's path if it was allowed to take over almost aspects of government, entertainment and our lives. He tells a really truthful story of how things would go if Jesus came back today or in the near future. It is all pretty scary. It is dark humor at its best. I highly recommend this book.
Skimmed it again (read it once for me, once when first assigned it to students, and skimmed twice now for later classes). Still find the near-future dystopian critique of an Evangelical future U.S. uncomfortably disturbing, the Jay/Jose character engaging, the Greco (Judas) character a little too much like me for comfort, and the ending both echoing the Biblical account of Jesus and surprising anyway.

It's an interesting mix of old and new theology. I was reminded of this in the class discussion
Kime Chenault
So, this is a satire about the second coming of Christ.
It takes a different perspective on things, though.
Instead of our country neglecting religion and trying to push it out of the lives of the citizens (like it seems to be doing at this point in time), religion (Christianity) is practically running America. Also, Jesus comes back as Jose, a Latino guy from (I want to say) the Bronx. It's much like when Christ first came to Earth, only this time, he came to reform Christianity. It's got a lot
Irl Newham
Out of my normal reading range but a very interesting and frightening book about what might happen the (Religious Right) took complete control of the U.S.
When I fly, I bury myself in books. I don't want to talk, I just want to get there. When I got on my last flight, the man sitting next to me asked "What are you reading?" and we talked all the way home. We exchanged interesting books we had read recently, and this was his recommendation.

What I liked about the book was what I believe to be a very real understanding of what Jesus said and what he meant when he said it. What I didn't like was that the book was very thin in terms of character and ch
So Fundamentalism has flourished to such an extent that the Hollywood sign now reads Holywood. Hendra takes the slide of the teaparty, and value based politics to the bottom of the slippery slope..following those of what the extremes could go to. In this dystopic vision, enters Jay. He is a latino, poor embodiment of the son of God. It's a put your money where your mouth is type of satire about Christianity is and what it could be. Very interesting and disturbing read.
Sarah Boyette
I enjoyed this book, but had a hard time concentrating on it. I don't know if it was the book, or me. It's about Jesus coming back as a Hispanic laborer. He corrects all the wrongs Christianity has done and clears up misconceptions of the Bible. Interesting concept, but I'm just not sure what I got out of it was worth all the work I put in it. Also interesting concept about the Trinity being the ultimate nuclear family.
Apr 21, 2008 Juno rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Athiests
Picked this book up completely by chance. I was in a dinky store that sold mostly home appliances and other knick knacks when I saw this on the small bookshelf they had in the back. I liked the cover, so I picked it up not knowing what to expect. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was a refreshing new take on a really great story.
Jeff Vankooten
An interesting take on a modern retelling of Christ's incarnation.
Wow. I really liked the twists in this book. Theologically speaking, it's an interesting take on the story of Jesus' life, and it's vastly amusing in some places. I recommend this book, because I think we often need a reminder of what Jesus really stood for. Good read.
Matt Wisdom
Picture an America controlled by the Christian Right where Jesus returns as an ugly Hispanic guy roaming the ghetto. That's the setting of this wonderful novel from Tony Hendra.

It's a beautiful, funny, and poignant read that wholeheartedly recommend.
The satire of a modern America run by a theocratic government makes for a good setting for anyone to enjoy, and if you are religious, you will find the new appearance of Jesus (with contemporary language and new miracles that mirror the old) fascinating.
Wes Bishop
Fantastic read. An interesting approach to the second coming of Christ told in a way that will leave the reader engaged until the last page.

WARNING: Challenging thoughts and story ahead. Not to be tempted by the narrow minded.
Wow. Why do comedians write some of the most moving stuff? It doesn't have that extra oomph to put it over the edge into five-star territory, but Hendra's compassion, humanity and sympathy are what make this anti-fundamentalist passion play work.
All in all a very well done short novel. Hendra's narrative of titular messiah was a bit heavy-handed for my taste at times, but his vision of the fundamentalist theocratic dystopia that is just around the corner feels too dead-on for comfort.
I liked this book so much, my friend recommended it to me and I passed it on to friends, who then passed it on to their friends. It was that good.

I think the reason I liked it so much is because it's very thought provoking.
The setting scarily resembles aspects of now and what could be if we don't change direction. Parts of this book are devestating...actually made me sick. Still, worthwhile, but hard to read.
Half way through. The idea of what could happen if the religious right continues to gain power and influence is interesting, but it's a little like the text of a graphic novel.
This book is a little too over the top for me. A much better and more inspiring version is the Joshua series. I couldn't even finish the first 100 pages b/c it was too much.
very clever and satirical and witty. Good play on words for popular slogans, movies, TV, etc. Ending is a bit disappointing.
David Wasser
One of the funniest books I've read in a long time, it's a marvelous satire of America in the 1990's.
Daniel Hadley
A Left Behind for Liberals. Neat concept, but turns out it's too much like Left Behind for conservatives.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
  • Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d
  • Enough, Dammit: A Cynic's Guide to Finally Getting What You Want out of Life
  • Four Weird Tales
  • How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life: Opening Your Heart to Confidence, Intimacy, and Joy
  • Healing Mantras: Using Sound Affirmations for Personal Power, Creativity, and Healing (Book & CD)
  • The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians
  • Moist
  • Revolution for the Hell of It
  • Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk
  • Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head
  • The Hornet's Nest
  • Electric God
  • The Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell YOU
  • The Bloomsday Dead (Michael Forsythe #3)
  • American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century
  • State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration
  • Peep Show
Tony Hendra (born 1941) is an English satirist and writer, who has worked mostly in the United States. Educated at St Albans School (where he was a class-mate of Stephen Hawking) and Cambridge University, he was a member of the Cambridge University Footlights revue in 1962, alongside John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Tim Brooke-Taylor.
More about Tony Hendra...
Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul Going Too Far The Book of Bad Virtues: A Treasury of Immorality BRAD '61: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man The 80s: a look back at the tumultuous decade 1980-1989.

Share This Book

“All evil begins with this belief: that another’s existence is less precious than mine.” 15 likes
More quotes…