Mar 22, 10
Read from March 07 to 21, 2010
This book is really quite sad. It's an "autobiography" of King David, "written" during his last days when he was essentially confined to a bed.
The basic plot is Bathsheba is trying to convince David to name Solomon his heir. David doesn't want to do this because he thinks Solomon is a dunce. Interwoven in these conversations are David's remembrances of his life.
David's pretty depressed. He misses Absalom. He misses Bathsheba's love. He thinks Solomon is a fool. And he is really mad at God and won't talk with him. He really doesn't have much hope in anything.
The book is also funny some of the time. Solomon really is an idiot (this is before he asked for wisdom) and David's attempts to explain the kingship to him often turn into hilarious tangents about, well, about anything. Meanwhile, David is popping off witty, wise sayings and can't understand why Solomon is writing them all down.
The book digs deep into the Old Testament. If you don't know the Old Testament, you will often be confused. For example, Bathsheba insults David by calling him A Son of Perez, which is a good line, but utterly obscure.
Thinking about it a little too much, this book is an interesting examination of the modern Jewish mindset, which is exactly what Heller said he had in mind when writing the book: what would David's attitude be today if he knew that his kingdom would die out, that 3000 years later there still was no Messiah, and that his people would be intensely persecuted?
If you like Joseph Heller, then I'd recommend this book to you.