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As A God Might Be

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Proctor McCullough is 44 years old. When he decides to desert his comfortable, middle class life in London and build a church on a clifftop, nobody knows what to make of it; McCullough is not religious. Is it a midlife crisis? Has he gone mad? Is he a man who is suffering a spiritual crisis in a secular age, where identity is shaped by wealth and social media? Or has he ...more
Paperback, 599 pages
Published October 26th 2017 by Dodo Ink
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Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2018
I knew nothing about Neil Griffiths before hearing about his role in instigating the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses thanks to my Mookse friends. Some of us met him at the Goldsmiths Prize announcement event last September where he showed us this book. My eye was caught by some of the names on the cover quotes, from Rowan Williams to Mike McCormack and Joanna Kavenna.

This book is nothing if not ambitious -a brave attempt to transplant the theological seriousness of the likes of
(A shortened and revised version of this review appeared in the June 15, 2018 issue of the Church Times.)

Proctor McCullough isn’t a churchgoer. He’s not even particularly religious. Yet somehow he senses that God is calling him to build a chapel, with a little house beside it, on a cliff in the southwest of England. It’s a source of bewilderment for his partner, Holly, and their London friends. Is Mac mentally ill, or having a particularly acute midlife crisis? He’s handed off from a minister to
Gumble's Yard
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Neil Griffiths is a fierce advocate of the brilliant work being done by the small presses in the UK and Ireland, which in these days are at the forefront of risk taking in literary fiction. He recently founded the Republic of Consciousness Prize to focus on these presses and their risk-taking in publishing "hardcore literary fiction" with "gorgeous prose" - and has been the greatest influence on my own reading in the last 12 months by introducing me to this world.

This is his third novel fulfils
Paul Fulcher
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Before I start, a word on pronouns. I've used 'He' and 'Him' for God. 'It' didn't feel right, and if I'd used 'She' you'd be distracted by that choice. What can I say ... the whole enterprise is intrinsically problematic in terms of language.
'This is what I think. Or what I thought. Something.' He used his finger beneath the words to make sure he read them without mistake.

'God is the transcendent Other for whom creation, what we know as life, is a gratuitous act of love, a dispensation of a
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, 5-stars
Richard Feynman once said “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned”.

Proctor McCullough (“Mac”) is not a religious man but he has a conviction that God (for want of a better word - what he means by this will be explored in the book) has called him to build a church (with a little house next to it) on a cliff edge somewhere in the south-west of England.

Back in London, his family and his friends cannot understand it. This isn’t helped by the fact
Jonathan Pool
One of the endorsements on the book sleeve for As A God Might Be is from Rowan Williams, recently (until 2012) Archbishop of Canterbury. That’s quite an endorsement for a ‘religious’ novel; a novel addressing ideology; assessing God.
The book was originally going to be called “Family of Love”, and the late change introducing “God” into the title is a brave editorial decision. It’s impossible not to have pre conceived ideas about the book’s content.
Here, on Goodreads, three of the glowing (5
Biblio Curious
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An idea that occurred to me while reading this is how much of our humanity exists on a spectrum and just how little black and white actually exists in reality. Our beliefs, morality, political views, sexuality and even tolerance are all on a spectrum whether we openly admit it to ourselves or not.

One of the themes in this book is certainly what is faith or theology today and does it still have a role in our lives. The way Griffiths addresses this complex issue is also what makes this book so
Valarie Smith
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. This is a masterpiece of faith - in god, our fellow man and ourselves - that is told with exquisite prose and exactly the kind of generous, open-hearted sense of inquiry the world needs right now. An incredible achievement.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
Proctor McCullough, a government employee researching postapocalyptic scenarios, has his midlife crisis. Instead of just sleeping around a little, he decides to build a church. Disappointingly, no hordes of zombies are beleaguering the church. The book is filled with the author's ruminations about God and Dostoyevsky and with lengthy discussions about the protagonists attempts to suppress his lust. My recommendation: Read Dostoyevsky instead. But don't write about it.
Jonathan Terranova
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lorna Corcoran
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This had to be the most weirdest, complicated and yet compelling book I've ever read. I picked it up and didn't want to put it back down again even though I had no idea really why I was still reading it at times!
Michael King
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
What would you do if you sensed you were in contact with God? Proctor McCullough (Mac) builds a church on the south coast of England. And on sand (yes, sand). Not at all sure it would be my first reflex - but don’t be put off. This intense book is about the massive swerve in Mac’s life from that of a successful consultant to Government on how to deal with terrorist attacks (like a dirty bomb in central London) to church builder and theologian. When this sophisticated, agnostic Londoner starts to ...more
Rebecca Davies
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This very long novel I chose based on a review in the Tablet. It’s a story of a man who builds a church and the people in his life. They include his partner and twin children, and a group of teenagers helping on the building. He gets into monologues about faith, love and Christianity which don’t always work in context and could have better been left for the reader to work out for themselves. That said, it was worth the effort.
georgia bookblast
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As A God Might Be is a humdinger of a book which sucks you into the great swirling paradoxical world of what it is to be human. It is a long, complex and disturbing read – at times uplifting and at others exasperating, which is how life is.

Reviewed on The BookBlast Diary 2017
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I skipped a lot of this very long and very dense book. Maybe I wasn’t up to it intellectually. I feel it deserves more attention than I was prepared to give it.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
kinda live
Justine Solomons
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Jan 14, 2018
Peter Burton
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Jan 29, 2018
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Nov 09, 2018
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Dec 06, 2018
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Feb 18, 2018
Alex G
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Somewhat self-indulgent, especially towards the end, and I found myself skipping over the confused, overly-dense musings of the protagonist that were clearly the author's own thoughts as he tied himself in knots. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it. It was good to read something different, thoughtful, sufficiently angst-y but still readable. A modern Dostoyevsky is a generous description, but not far off.
Conor O'Donnelly
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Feb 28, 2018
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Eric Yendall
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Apr 03, 2018
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Mar 31, 2018
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