Jason Coleman's Reviews > The Book of Genesis

The Book of Genesis by Robert Crumb
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Jun 28, 2010

really liked it

Crumb does illustrate the Bible's racier aspects--from Sodom and Gomorrah to all the endless "begetting"--but (this time at least) he's not out to titillate. He's just trying to bring this bizarrely influential desert tribe to life for us, and that means stripping away all the Cecil B. DeMille jazz and giving us insecure, atavistic people and warm bodies lying in tents--with a god just as unpredictable as anything in the Greek myths playing with their fate.

In his notes, Crumb seems to be just as baffled as I am by these parables' seemingly capricious twists and the resulting obscurity that kills these tales for me; but, unlike me, he dipped into the Bible scholars, gained some understanding, and forged ahead. I can't bring myself to do this. Maybe when I'm in a retirement home. In the meantime I'm glad he jumped on that particular grenade for me.

The artwork is of course incredible, and Crumb, while not a believer, does not mock, question, or jest. He goes with it. Nonetheless, Christians will wonder where Charlton Heston is and, I suspect, hate Crumb's book.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Boyd I read this, too, and found it truly creepy, just like the original. I prefer the Lego version.

I have it (along with c. 100,000 other books) on the table next to my sofa, and my cleaning lady avoids dusting it like it was made from uranium.


message 2: by Reese (new)

Reese I occasionally need to be reminded that "You can't judge a review by the title of the book." Your review did the job. As soon as I saw what you had reviewed, I thought, "Nope. Not interested." And then I stopped myself from scrolling down to the next update. Divine intervention? I doubt it. I still don't plan to check out Crumb's work. Crumb can "jump on grenades" for you; you can "jump on grenades" for me. In return, you can count on me to read your reviews and appreciate the information and the tone.


Jason Coleman Just read the new Paris Review interview with Crumb, and he mentions admiring DeMille's epics for all their visual detail, so I guess he didn't mean to strip away *all* that "DeMille jazz" after all. Still, this thing puts its bets on the Bible's atavistic side and is not very 700-Club-friendly.


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