Aug 14, 07
Read in August, 2007
Ron Currie asks us to please believe, for two hundred pages or so, that God has come to Earth as a Dinka woman and died in the desert of Darfur. His debut novel (which is really just a collection of connected short stories), God is Dead, examines the discovery and subsequent fallout of God's death, and predicts how our world changes immediately after as well as generations down the road without a higher power to believe in.
Written from a number of different perspectives, Currie's book is all at once frightening, haunting, melancholy, and funny (where else can you hear Colin Powell yell, "I'm black as night, motherfucker!"?). While some stories deal directly with God's demise (like the best of the bunch - an interview with one of the dogs who eats God's corpse and now communicates telepathically), many touch on it only tangentially, focusing more on an individual characters and their lives in a society that increasingly resembles the near-future dystopia's of George Saunders. Currie excels at making this world both off-putting and totally familiar; a government employee can force people to insult their children and still worry about normal problems like loneliness, imperfect love, and a tragic past.
Despite its far-fetched premise, God is Dead illuminates our own troubled present with stories of endless (and ignored) wars and governments gone wild without getting overtly political, and Currie keeps it all grounded by choosing basic humanity over absurdist satire. Although it ends with a shrug, God is Dead is a thought-provoking and entertaining read.
"The answer is, I don't have an answer. I can offer no comfort and little insight. I am not your God. Or if I am, I'm no God you can seek out for deliverance or explanation. I'm the kind of God who would eat you without compunction if I were hungry. You're as naked and alone in this world as you were before finding me."