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God Is Dead Hardcover – July 5, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A bleak dystopian future is tempered with moments of possibility in story writer Currie's debut novel, in which a sick and wounded Dinka woman arrives at a refugee camp in Darfur, searching for her lost brother. The woman is God, come to Earth in human form to make apologies to the Sudanese, over whose fate He is, "due to an implacable polytheistic bureaucracy, completely powerless." When God is gunned down, news of His death spreads quickly around the globe and provides the jumping-off point for the subsequent short story–like chapters that reveal what happens in a post-God world: suicide rates skyrocket (especially among clergy members), riots and mass looting erupt and the pack of feral dogs that feasted on God's corpse begin "speaking a mishmash of Greek and Hebrew" and inspiring worship among Africans. (Meanwhile, in America, the masses, seeking a deity to fill the void, begin worshipping children.) Looking at humanity through a warped lens allows the various narrators unusual insight; while sometimes overwrought, these observations are often striking, as when an enlightened dog describes the strange new experience of emotion. This novel-in-stories is unsettling and strange, but still easily accessible; despite the ways in which his world has changed, Currie's altered humanity has one foot in ours. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


a Currieas strength rests in his ability to focus humanityas conundrums on the smallest physical particles. The truth he presents is that the world has become absurd; he is merely delivering a steady-cam view.a
a"Los Angeles Times"
a [A] cavalierly ambitious debut . . . with talking dogs, text messageahappy teenagers, and end-of-day shenanigans. Like Kurt Vonnegut, he seems to understand that in the face of grim and grave concerns, humor is a more powerful salt than screed.a
aJohn Freeman, "San Francisco Chronicle" --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (July 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670038679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670038671
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,206,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ron Currie, Jr., took his place as one of America's freshest young literary voices with his acclaimed debut collection, "God Is Dead," which won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R S Cobblestone VINE VOICE on August 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What happens when God dies?

The sun still rises and sets, because God had already set the planets in motion. But what happens to us?

This is the theme behind the novel, God is Dead.

It begins with God, disguised as a wounded Dinka woman from Sudan, being killed by the Janjaweed in the Darfur desert. The observation that feral dogs feeding on her body now speak ancient languages give rise to the conclusion that God, indeed, has died.

What happens next? Author Ron Currie looks at humanity from a variety of perspectives, and the text almost reads as if the succeeding chapters were given to a variety of authors to experiment with this theme. But they were all written by Currie, of course. He writes well, with intensity and clarity.

But God remains dead. No Gandalf resurrection here.

This novel is worthy of more than one reading. I've only read it the once, but I "see" that I missed subtle messages here. Knowing where Currie takes the story, I know I can get more out of it the second time around. It is also easy to select one or two chapters to revisit.

And remember, this is a novel, not a "God is not Great" expose of religion. But you will feel sorry for God, who lives, and dies, experiencing the suffering in Darfur.

Who is that sitting next to you?
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Clifford Garstang on July 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I don't think readers should over-examine this story collection/novel for its religious message, since the premise isn't theological -- it's just wildly imaginative. What if God manifested himself in Darfur in the body of a Dinka girl and died there? One answer is that the world, learning of God's death, spins out of control. But another is that God wasn't really doing anything to stop calamity in the first place, so what has changed? Our fate is in our own hands, just as it was before. You could make either case from these stories, if that's what you want to do, but in the meantime you could just enjoy these very well made fictions, from the title story, "God is Dead," in which Colin Powell visits the Sudan, to the last story, "Retreat," in which the outcome of a war between the armies of the Evolutionary Psychologists and the Postmodern Anthropologists is decided. The characters are quirky, but believable, trying to cope with situations that, only in the context of a world that has just learned of God's death, are wholly credible. This is a terrific debut and should find readers of all stripes.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mark Oestreicher on June 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
this book caught my eye on a recent trip to borders; and, after reading the back cover copy, i decided to pick it up. it's a quick read, and really intriguing. it's a collection of short stories, built around a common fictional thread. the stories aren't interconnected like the movies crash or babel, but are, rather, a series of isolated snapshots spinning out of the implications of the first story.

that first story is that god has temporarily incarnated in the body of a dinka woman in africa, and during a rebel raid, is killed. theological inacuracy aside, the fictional ruminations of a world without god (or, as the a-theistic author would likely say, a world that learns god is dead and ceases all belief in god) are fascinating. it's not a john lennon "imagine there's no heaven" pretty picture -- it's a bloomin' mess! ferel dogs eat a small bit of the woman's body, and begin speaking in aramaic, and -- pretty soon -- the word is out.

it's an extremely imaginative collection of implications, with large portions of the macro narrative told through implication and color commentary. for instance, one of the stories is the first-person narrative of a guy who works for the government agency that exists to get parents to stop worshiping their children by weekly sessions to strong-arm parents into seeing the averageness of their children. but the contextual bits let us in on the reality that, in the wake of any reason for church, and with nothing else to worship, parents around the world begin worshipping their own children.

the stories have a chronology to them, only in that each subsequent story takes place further in time from the death of god.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MW on August 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Like nothing I've read since early Vonnegut. Wonderful writing: fresh, elegant, and completely unpretentious. Currie laces his stories with both unbearable sorrow and acid humor, and every character--from God to hapless functionaries to talking dogs--feel so plainly human. Each story can stand alone, but they gather immense power in ensemble. I especially loved the way the various plots snipe at current events (wars fought over arbitrary ideologies, for example)without becoming the least bit polemical. This was a bracing read, and I plan to read it again, with a fuller appreciation of the stories' interconnection and long, intelligent arc. Bravo and thanks. -- Monica Wood
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Myfanwy Collins on July 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An intelligent, darkly humorous, often bleak, but ultimately hopeful book Ron Currie, Jr.'s debut "God Is Dead" is not to be missed.

"I am not your God. Or if I am, I'm no God you can seek out for deliverance or explanation. I'm the kind of God who would eat you without compunction if I were hungry. You're as naked and alone in this world as you were before finding me. And so now the question becomes: Can you abide by this knowledge? Or will it destroy you, empty you out, make you a husk among husks?"

So sayeth the last remaining member of the feral dogs who feasted on God's corpse after he had come to Earth as a Dinka woman only to die at the hands of the Janjuweed.

For me the above quote sums up this brilliant book--a collection of stunning, provocative fiction all essentially asking the same question--what would happen if the world believed that God was dead? Would things fall apart? Would there be war? Would parents idolize their children? Would the dogs who ate God become false prophets? Would priests commit suicide? All ideas which Currie explores as he weaves together the godless world.

But then maybe things wouldn't be so bad. That maybe life as we know it will carry on after all--like it always had--God or no God. In "False Idols", we learn this to be one reality:

"And then a strange thing happened: nothing. Gradually we came to realize that the sun still rose in the morning and set at night, the tide still came in and went out on schedule, and we and everyone we knew (for the most part) were still alive and breathing.
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