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Etc Etc Amen

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Entertain the possibility
And the possibility
Will entertain you

Imagine if a charismatic star such as John Lennon had left behind a blueprint for an alternative religion which pointed out the anachronisms and dangers of the existing faiths. How long would this religion take to spread across the globe and even be perceived as a threat to Christianity, Judaism and Islam? In th
Paperback, First Edition, 414 pages
Published November 1st 2012 by Acorn Independent Press
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Showing 1-30
3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  114 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Ade Bailey
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
OK. Howard Male (the author) contacted me on goodreads and asked me to read this book. I understand he's messaged others. These aren't generic messages; he's been through my reading lists and refers to them as preparing me for this book of his.

This wonderful, hilarious, surreal romp. Not quite finished but the highest compliment I can give it is it's precisely the sort of book some maladjusted inner readerly miser wants to keep for itself. It's satirical and contemporary, its targets are brillia
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found "Etc Etc Amen" utterly captivating. It's a philosophical rockumentary with twists aplenty, busting at the covers with tantalisingly bittersweet ideas and observations on our rather frail, flawed, yet ever hopeful species, and the nature of our need for belief. The book manages to be richly visual without resorting to florid descriptions, thought-provoking without a hint of didacticism, and peopled with out-of-the-ordinary characters who nevertheless come vividly to life without seeming c ...more
Eric Schumacher-rasmussen
I'd never heard of Howard Male until I encountered him commenting on a mutual friend's Facebook status, but as soon as he friended me, I gobbled up as much of his terrific writing on music (particularly that of Africa and the African diaspora) as I could find. I've learned loads from him, and gotten dozens of recommendations that have ended up in heavy rotation on my Spotify playlists. But one of the best recommendations I got from him was for his first novel, the thought-provoking, funny, and a ...more
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
You may think a mere coincidence, even a random click, has led to you reading this. You may expect a cosy Hornby-esque tale of rock journalists and celebrity culture. You will be wrong on both counts. A richer, deeper and stranger experience awaits. David Icke as Ziggy Stardust, Julie Burchill worshipped as the new Duchess of Cambridge? No, but after reading this book you might be persuaded to 'entertain the possibility' - one of the intriguing and tantalising aspects of the comprehensively imag ...more
Fiona Robson
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“Imagine if a charismatic star such as John Lennon had left behind a blueprint for an alternative religion which pointed out the anachronisms and dangers of the existing faiths. How long would this religion take to spread across the globe and even be perceived as a threat to Christianity, Judaism and Islam? In the age of the Internet, certainly less than 2000 years. Set in 1970s London and present-day Marrakech, Etc Etc Amen is a conspiracy thriller and a murder Mystery in which people make gods ...more
I have rather mixed feelings about this book. Firstly I really enjoyed the main narrative and the mystery that surrounded the main character, August, for much of the book until her true identity is revealed. I loved the fact that the strongest characters in the book were all female and that it was the men that kept getting it wrong and getting the wool pulled over their eyes (made a rather refreshing change I must say). I also really enjoyed the sections of Paul Coleridge's book that took the re ...more
Interesting book. I liked parts of the book but the philosophy portion I didnt care for at all. This book has three parts to it: (1) modern day (2007) Marrakesh, Morocco where the headquarters of KUU is located, (2) London during the 1970s of the time during glam rocker Zachary B, and (3) the philosophy of KUU, or Knowing Unknowable Universe, which is a non-religion created by Zachary B.

In modern day Morocco August and Damian, English journalist and photographer, respectively, investigate the KU
Mike Keirsbilck
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r-52-books
I've read this book by chance. Call it a cosmic nudge, if you like. But it truly was a perfect summer read. It made it to my must-read pile for this summer, and it tickled me, so it got bumped up. And I was not disappointed.

The novel is very cleverly constructed. It's part social criticism, part detective novel, part whodunnit -- or rather 'what-happened'.

The story is centered around the stoned scribbles of a burned out glam rockstar Zachary Bekele. He devised some sort of an anti-religion. A ph
Alex Milledge
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Howard Male's book is a brilliant blend of 70's rock, murder mystery, and witty KUUist exegesis of irreligious themes such as dogmatic non-dogmatism, dogmatic doubt, dogmatic-think-for-yourselves, etc. etc.

The book takes place in both modern-day Merrakech in Africa and 1970's London, and also details the life events of Zachary B, a 70's rockstar placed amongst the pantheon of Glam Gods with the likes of Marc Bolan and David Bowie. His premature and shrouded death in the early 80's begins the im
David Fox
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: rock/fantasy fiction
Recommended to David by: Howard Male
Shelves: owned-books, reviewed
Pursuit of Happiness

It is only appropriate before I delve into this review that I divulge the circumstances surrounding the reason why I even chose to read this book. Now, as it is, Male’s subject matter, main actors & story focus happen to be those types of fictional elements that most attract my attention. But the simple fact of the matter is that I had never heard of this book or its author. Without the coincidental happenstance that popped into my space (an email in my inbox) I never wou
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very different, unusual, thought provoking read. The story centres around a dead glam rock star whose philosophies for a new non-religion spurred on the creation of a new "cult" called KUUism. It gives a very interesting insight into just how quickly an "idea" can spread to millions of people and turn into something quite massive through the power of the internet.

The story itself is told in alternating chapters that switch from the 1970s to 2007. The segments set in the 1970s tell the story of
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
a thought provoking, eye-opening, quirky, outside of the box, humorous, tragic, brilliant novel! I don't feel I have the intelligence to write a review that truly represents the genius of this novel. HOWEVER... The three pronged narrative of this novel (rather like the legs of a 'Tripod', interweave to create a bizarre but brilliant story. they interweave in terms of characters and their stories but only culminate at the end in a climax I just was not expecting at all. The plot is exceptionally ...more
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I wish there was a 6th star to give this's that good!

So many novels that use rock stars or musical settings in fiction..well,they get it kinda wrong...Male is a music writer,as well as musician...and gets it right...

The riffs on glam-rock,cults of personality,religious buffoonery,and growing into and out of obsessions are all spot on...

The best thing about this book,and the highest praise I myself can give it,is that the people and events really seemed to have happened and existed!...T
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didntfinish
Couldn't finish this one. I made it about 25% of the way through but I just couldn't get into it. I liked the concept of a cultish "non religion" (it was a little reminiscent of Vonnegut) but I was distracted by a few things. The specific pop culture references, like Rhianna's "Umbrella", instantly dated the story and, to me, screamed "trying too hard to be hip". I don't think they will hold up well with time. I liked the alternating sections of the main story and the two in-universe books, but ...more
Apr 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author himself sold this book to me, and he did a good job. It certainly piqued my curiosity, and in this case it didn't kill the cat, or the book.

I'm not a big fan of stories where the timeline flips back and forth, but this story requires it.

The book is funny, quirky and unravels at a satisfying pace. I don't do spoilers, so will say that the ideas are thought provoking and engaging in equal measures.

The characters are warm and well drawn, and I would recommend this as a fascinating mixtur
Jun 20, 2013 rated it liked it
The book description lead me to buy it - imagine if a charismatic rock star started a religion - or non-religion. The idea was intriguing and not entirely far fetched. I enjoyed the way the book switched from the convincing 1970s British glam rock era to the (less convincing) present day intertwining the past and present in story that builds to an unexpected climax (i didn't guess what happened and that's a rare quality in a lot of novels).

I agree with many reviewers that the KUU sections were
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I'm not very good at writing book reviews but I would just like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
To add a little weight to that otherwise bland statement I would like to say that I only ever read before I go to bed as a way to relax and have done since I was a little kid but the description had me start reading it earlier today and I've just finished it. I NEVER read in daylight hours and NEVER finish a book in one go.
I wasn't even remotely aware of how much time had passed or
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Over the first 30 or so pages of this book I thought I was going to hate it: its unusual structure (part straightforward narrative, part memoir, part "unholy book") comes across as a little pretentious and, to be honest, doesn't always work - but Male's straightforward, engaging and funny style creates a believable rock star and a believable anti-religion. What really sets this book apart though? The author's ability to hold back JUST ENOUGH to keep you intrigued, and keep you reading...
May 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was problematic. The main narrative built slow, but was really interesting, especially as it built up to the ending. However, this book was really hampered by the inclusion of the deeply tedious KUU doctrine. It didn't really add anything to the story, and would have served much better as an appendix. It got very wearing having to scroll through pages of pages of pseudo-philosophy and it kind of ruined the book for me.
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly entertaining mix of the world's of Rock 'n' Roll and religion. The narrative structure works splendidly - only minimal adjustments required for a film or TV adaptation (PLEASE). Amusingly written, good character development plus some nicely timed and subtle plot reveals. Quality debut from Howard Male.
John Caldwell
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
'Out of the crazy, hedonistic music scene of 1970's London emerges a thought that could stabilise a directionless secular world at the same time as questioning the very essence of religious belief. Very rarely has a book left me questioning and pondering the very core of my being for weeks afterwards. A damn good read!'(less)
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an absorbing thriller set in both the present day and the 70s glam rock era, with a healthy dose of philosophical/theological food for thought (though never heavy-handed). The unique combination of elements is so engaging, the story so involving, I frankly fail to see how you could NOT enjoy it. Put it on your summer reading list! Etc, etc Amen.
Joe Zeferelli
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Etc etc Amen reminds me of concept novels like The Fermata Chord and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, where the philosophical concepts may well live longer than the story in your mind.
Male's highly imagined 'fake' religion is both hilarious and thought provoking, and is packaged in a story that's pacy and gripping. A great book to get lost in!
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable look at celebrity, celebrity worship, cult religions and glam rock. Well thought through and internally consistent, the author uses structure cleverly to delineate a plausible philosophy and tell a tale engagingly in a non-linear way which enhances the telling.
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable romp of a book about an ex-rock-star-turned-deceased-prophet-of-sorts, and various semi-mysterious goings on.
Emma Williams
Apr 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Found this book a tedious disappointment & gave up on it.
Aug 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommended to Jane by: the author
Shelves: british
I've PM'd the author, seems kinder really. Something very different, a theological thriller set in the glam-rock era. But I kept reading. Give it a go.
Joseph Costello
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. So much going on in it, celebrity, cults, cult of the celebrity, cult created by a celebrity and much more but beautifully paced, structured and written.
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent novel.I'd highly recommend it.As an atheist music lover I found the tale of a non-religion based on the stoned ramblings of a dead glam star highly absorbing.
rated it liked it
Feb 03, 2014
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Howard Male was born in Cambridge, England and currently lives in deepest south London. He has been a painter, a rock musician ( ) and, in more recent years, a music and arts critic for UK publications The Independent, The Arts Desk (, Songlines and the now sadly defunct The Word ( He ...more
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