Sarah and I went to Borders a few months ago for a date night. We each had 15 minutes to pick out 5 books we thought the other person might want – and then we were able to select which one we wanted and we got it. She picked out some good ones for me, and I ended up choosing Ron Currie, Jr.’s God is Dead. Author Ron Currie, Jr. (MySpace here) has written fiction and other short stories, and was short-listed for an Emerging Writer Award.
God is Dead takes the reader into a world in which God literally dies. In the book, God comes to earth again disguised as a young Dinka woman in a refugee camp in the North Darfur region of Sudan. Through a series of events that includes a seething/swearing Colin Powell, God is killed and eaten by a pack of feral (wild) dogs. The rest of the book loosely follows one character through various stages of his life and readers witness one plausible idea for what happens to a word in which God has literally died. At one point, it is a combination of mass pandemonium, mass suicides (detailed very specifically) and PoMo armies – but after awhile, things begin to be back to normal – to some degree.
The book is an extremely dark and morbid satire on our world today, and what Currie imagines might happen if God were to be taken out of the picture – completely. In an interview with Currie, he states that he really doesn’t believe in God – but does believe that God is definitely alive in the world today – interesting paradox. Currie cites many authors as inspiration but relies heavily on David Foster Wallace, Chuck Palahniuk and primarily on Kurt Vonnegut. It’s clear to see some of each of these authors’ styles present in God is Dead.
It is – to be sure – a very depressing, nihilistic book, overall – but there are some humorous portions, and I especially enjoyed the section in the middle that discussed “children worship” and how in the post-God world, children were being revered and worshipped and parents were required to go to therapy to learn how to degrade and verbally abuse their children in order to put them in their place. Typing it out, it really doesn’t sound funny – but it was while I was reading it. Some reviews I read online said that this was the type of book where each time you read it, you learn something new, or see something different. Perhaps, I’ll need to try that with this book. It was definitely engaging and interesting, but I’m still not sure what I think about it. I am going to have to let this one sit with me for awhile.