Katy's Reviews > I, Lucifer: Finally, the Other Side of the Story

I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan
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Jun 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: ebook
Recommended for: those who enjoy a rambling journey

Book Info: Genre: Literary Fiction
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: People who like to look at things from a different perspective
Trigger Warnings: This is a story told from Lucifer's point of view, so he often thinks about things that aren't at all nice, such as possibly raping a woman, or killing people, etc. It's mostly just thoughts, but be aware of them. Attempted suicide.

My Thoughts: I'm still trying to make sense of this piece. The book isn't much about anything but the journey, Lucifer's experiences spending time in a mortal form and how he spends that time, his thoughts on various things, and his determination to write a book that will once and for all set things straight and tell the story from his point of view. As such, it tends to be rambling, wandering from topic to topic (often self-consciously so), and somewhat disjointed. It will not be for everyone, that is for sure, but I found I rather enjoyed it. Lucifer has a sort of wry voice that I found appealing (when he wasn't thinking appalling things), and his descriptions of the things around him made me see things in a new light. I mean, just imagine that you've spent all this time immaterial and suddenly you're in the material world, feeling, smelling, hearing, seeing... it would be overwhelming. I think the author did a good job of portraying that idea. The one problem I had with this is that everything is left up in the air. What happens with Lucifer? I know I”d like to know. That wasn't enough to detract from the story, though; it just left me with burning questions that I wanted answered. If this sounds like the sort of thing that would appeal to you, be sure to check this book out.

Disclosure: I purchased this e-book for myself. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: The Prince of Darkness has been given one last shot at redemption, provided he can live out a reasonably blameless life on earth. Highly sceptical, naturally, the Old Dealmaker negotiates a trial period—a summer holiday in a human body, with all the delights of the flesh.

The body, however, turns out to be that of Declan Gunn, a depressed writer living in Clerkenwell, interrupted in his bath mid-suicide. Ever the opportunist, and with his main scheme bubbling in the background, Luce takes the chance to tap out a few thoughts—to straighten the biblical record, to celebrate his favourite achievements, to let us know just what it's like being him.

Neither living nor explaining turns out to be as easy as it looks. Beset by distractions, miscalculations and all the natural shocks that flesh is heir to, the Father of Lies slowly begins to learn what it's like being us.
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Quotes Katy Liked

Glen Duncan
“How to describe hell? Disembowelled landscape busy with suffering, incessant heat, permanent scarlet twilight, a swirling snowfall of ash, the stink of pain and the din of...if only, hell is two things: the absence of God and the presence of time. Infinite variations on that theme. Doesn't sound so bad, does it? Well, trust me.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“Kneecaps only exist to get hit with claw-hammers; grace only exists to be fallen from.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“I'll tell you something,' she said. 'I'm not sure I ever really liked him.'

Adam?' I said. 'I don't blame you.' 'Not Adam,' she said, struggling to swallow a greedily chomped chunk. 'God.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“Yes, Eden was beautiful- and if I had to squeeze through corporeal keyholes to crash it- so be it. (Hasn’t it bothered you, this part of the story, my being there, I mean? What was I doing there? ‘Presume not the ways of God to scan,’ you’ve been told in umpteen variations, ‘the proper study of Mankind is Man.’ Maybe so, but what, excuse me, was the Devil doing in Eden?) I took the forms of animals. I found I could. (That’s generally my reason for doing something, by the way, because I find I can.)”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“Your ideal possession candidate's a thirteen-year-old recently orphaned schizophrenic girl three days away from her period on her way to see the shrink with whom she's romantically besotted.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“Coffee justifies the existence of the word 'aroma'.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“The rain's been racing earthwards as if with some religious or political fanaticism. The clouds have the look of dark internal bleeding. Surely you lot look up from Cosmo while this sort of thing's going on? Surely you take a Playstation break?”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“I noticed how utterly indifferent the passengers were to what they were doing, namely, flying through the air. A glance out of the window would have revealed furrowed fields of cloud stained smoke-blue and violet as night and morning changed shifts –- but how were they passing time in First, Business and Coach? Crosswords. In-flight movies. Computer games. E-mail. Creation sprawls like a dewed and willing maiden outside your window awaiting only the lechery of your senses –- and what do you do? Complain about the dwarf cutlery. Plug your ears. Blind you eyes. Discuss Julia Roberts’s hair. Ah, me. Sometimes I think my work is done.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“Peace is purchased in the currency of loss.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“The question 'What was there before creation?' is meaningless. Time is a property of creation, therefore before creation there was no before creation.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“The only animal from which humans have nothing to learn, in fact, is the sheep. Humans have already learned everything the sheep's got to teach.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“I counted seventy-three shades of grey in an eight-by-ten room.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“When I see gurgling retarded children (that's God's doing, by the way, not mine) happily styling their hair with their own stinking mards, I think of Adam in those pre-marital days. I know he's your great-to-the-nth-degree-granddad and all - but I'm afraid he was rather an imbecile.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“The absurdity of it, she thought, this quest for the love of a man who was her equal. She loathed herself for it. She thought of her life (and herself) as a missed opportunity. Somewhere, back there, she had missed something. What was it? When was it? The worse horror beneath: that she hadn't missed anything, that her life was merely the sum of her choices and that her choices had led her to this: another truncated encounter; the carcinogenic belief in the idea of a Great Love; clammy sex; loneliness in the small hours.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“Words betrayed her: beautiful butterflies in her mind; dead moths when she opened her mouth for their release into the world.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“I'm in love, truly, madly, deeply in love with perception.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“The key to evil? Freedom. The key to freedom? Money. For you, my darlings, freedom to do what you like to do makes you. Not that that stops you doing what you like, since you like doing what you like more than you like liking what you do . . .”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“The pornologue's mantric (as is the Athanasian Creed, for that matter) sucking her down to a level of herself where no questions are asked, where her history evaporates, where her self bleeds painlessly into the void.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“I know what the majority of you think about all this. All this sex and money and drugs. You think: people who live like that never end up happy. You need to think that in just the way men with small penises need to think size doesn't matter. It's understandable. The rich, the famous, the big-dicked, the slim-and-gorgeous - they can incite an envy so urgent that you can escape it only by translating it into pity. People who live like that never end up happy. Yes, you're right. But neither do you. And in the meantime, they've had all the sex and drugs and money.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“No artist knows everything (yea, even this artist - piss-artist, con-artist, body-artist) but since every artist knows more than he can tell, all art is lying by omission.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“The beauty of the concept is that it takes the wind out of so many would-be ethical sails: the company that owns the porn-mag owns the company that makes the washing powder. The company that owns the munitions plants owns the company that makes the budgerigar food. The company that owns the nuclear waste owns the company that picks up your trash. These days, thanks to me, unless you pack up and go and live in a cave, you're putting money into evil and shit. And let's be realistic, if the cost of ethics is life in a cave . . .”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“There's no such thing as evil for its own sake. All evil is motivated - even mine {Lucifer}.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“I find I still adore walking. Absurd, obviously, what with it being merely a case of putting one foot in front of the other and so on - but there you are.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“It is, you must concede, unpleasantly messy, this business of having feelings, this mattering to each other. I've always thought of it as gory, a sort of perpetually occurring road accident - everyone going too fast, too close, without due care and attention, or with too much . . .”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“Hell [...] is the absence of God and the presence of Time.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer
tags: hell

Glen Duncan
“The Mortals are free, Lucifer. What they've done they've done from within themselves. - Raphael”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“All the metaphors in this world wouldn’t scratch the surface of what stepping into darkness is like for me. And that’s just darkness. Don’t get me started on light. Really, don’t get me started on light.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“The first thing to say about Eve is that she was a big improvement on the Adam design, or that Adam was an extremely misguided variation on the Eve design. (Consider testicles. Two concentrated nuclei of absolute vulnerability. Where? Dangling between the legs. I rest my case.)”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“She had something Adam didn't. Curiosity. First step to growth -- and if it wasn't for Eve's Adam would still be sitting by the side of the pool picking his nose and scratching his scalp, bamboozled by his own reflection. Off in her part of Eden, Eve hadn't bothered naming the animals. On the other hand she'd discovered how to milk some of them and how best to eat the eggs of others. She'd decided she wasn't overly keen on torrential rain and had built a shelter from bamboo and banana leaves, into which she'd retire when the heavens opened, having set out coconut shells to catch the rainwater with a view to saving herself the schlep down to the spring every time she wanted a drink. The only thing you won't be surprised to hear about is that she'd already domesticated a cat and called it Misty.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“Temptation's less about wearing someone down with repetition than it is about finding the right phrase and dropping it in at the right time.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“You can't blame me. I mean that literally. You're incapable of blaming me. You're human. Being human is choosing freedom over imprisonment, autonomy over dependency, liberty over servitude. You can't blame me because you know (come on, man, you've always known) that the idea of spending eternity with nothing to do except praise God is utterly unappealing. You'd be catatonic after an hour. Heaven's a swiz because to get in you have to leave yourself outside. You can't blame me because -- now do please be honest with yourself for once -- you'd have left, too.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“I'm supposed to be guilty of all sorts of crimes and misdemeanors, but when you get right down to it, I'm really only guilty of one: wondering. The road to Hell, you say, is paved with good intentions. Charming. But actually it's paved with intriguing questions. You want to know. Man do you want to know.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“There's an exclamation mark on this keyboard which shares tab-space with the number one. Shift+1=! It's insufficient. Radically inadequate as the denotation of my surprise. Even in bold. Even in underlined bold italic. I need something else, some punctuation mark not yet invented.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“(I invented rock and roll. You wouldn't believe the things I've invented. Anal sex, obviously. Smoking. Astrology. Money ... Let's save time: Everything in the world that distracts you from thinking about God. Which ... pretty much ... is everything in the world, isn't it? Gosh.)”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“Heaven's heard us down here, cackling at our piss-takes and chortling at our quips; I've seen the looks, the suspicion that they're missing out on it, this laughing malarkey. But they always turn away, Gabriel to horn practice, Michael to the weights. Truth is they're timid. If there was a safe way down--a fire escape (boom-boom)--there'd be more than a handful of deserters tiptoeing down to my door. Abandon hope all ye who enter here, yes--but get ready for a rart ol' giggle, dearie.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan
“It wasn't love at first sight. They ran into each other one morning in a sunny clearing in the forest. A few moments of stunned silence. `Glockenspiel,' Adam pronounced, thinking (but with terrible doubt) he'd found another animal in search of a name. When Eve approached him, proffering a handful of elderberries, he threw a stick at her and ran away.”
Glen Duncan, I, Lucifer


Reading Progress

June 19, 2012 – Shelved
April 26, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
April 26, 2013 – Shelved as: ebook
April 16, 2014 – Started Reading
April 17, 2014 –
55.0% "I know some of these words are completely made-up, but on the other hand, this book is expanding my vocabulary. If you are reading a paper version of this book, have a dictionary handy."
April 18, 2014 –
63.0%
April 24, 2014 –
84.0% "This is actually where I was on Friday before I ended up sick. Then I was in hospital and didn't feel like reading."
April 26, 2014 –
86.0% "I suppose if one were accustomed to being immaterial it would be quite shocking to experience a high fever and hallucinations and other of the problems of being ill.\n "
April 27, 2014 –
97.0% "Oh, dear... things just went horribly awry. Since the book is almost finished, I wonder what it will all end up as?"
April 27, 2014 –
98.0% "oh, dear... is this going to wrap up, or is there going to be a sequel? I guess I'll learn soon"
April 27, 2014 – Finished Reading

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