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Inventing God (British Literature) Paperback – August 1, 2003

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like the deus absconditus of Pascal, Maurice Rotblatt is more present in his absence: the TV personality, psychologist and mystic, whom "admirers occasionally described... as Christ-like" disappeared in the early '90s in Beirut. Rumors have reached Rotblatt's friend Richard Kahn, a lecturer in anthropology in Beirut, that Rotblatt was trying to find a genetic difference between believers of different faiths; this information has interested some unnamed Middle Eastern leaders, who would like to develop toxins that would kill only genetically tagged victims. It has also intrigued Carl Andros, a biologist and intelligence agent of some sort, located in London. Kahn's friend Hafiz, a graduate student geneticist, tries to find out whether such poisons are actually being tested; meanwhile, Hafiz's friend Joshua travels to London to interview Laura Simmons, Maurice's last mistress. Andros runs into Maisie, Laura's niece, and encourages her to go to Beirut. We watch as these characters intricately intersect: Maisie does get to Beirut and falls in love with Hafiz; Richard, in Jerusalem now, gains an intimation of Maurice's fate; Maisie's gay friend Dario becomes Laura's secretary; and Joshua and Andros move toward an erotic relationship. Mosley's characters have feverish, God-obsessed inner lives; their outer lives have a flickering, stylized unreality. Gnomic dialogues abound. A woman giving birth improbably asks her midwife, "Can you see its head, Gaby? Is it like the sun? Does it have two arm two legs and one in between? Surely God was not jealous.... Do you think one day we shall hear his song?" This is a complexly imagined novel of ideas, but some readers may find it a pallid effort from the Whitbread Award-winning author of Hopeful Monsters.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Mosley is the most serious and brilliant of Britain's novelists of ideas."--Times (UK)

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Product Details

  • Series: British Literature
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; 1St Edition edition (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564782913
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564782915
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,037,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Geez, this is what passes for a "novel of ideas" these days? This must be more of a comment on the state of other novels than on this book. Yes, ideas are discussed here, but what novel worth half a penny does NOT deal with ideas? Imagine calling Conrad's works, for example, of Joyce's, "novels of ideas." Well OF COURSE!

Mosley is a guilty pleasure read, I've concluded. He starts talking about one character, gets him/her in an interesting situation, then leaves it and starts talking about some other character. As the book goes along, the characters' situations begin to intertwine. Kind of a cheap trick.

Yes, I gave a glowing review to his other book, Impossible Object, and the technique there is not really all that different. I still think that one's worth reading and a lot better than Inventing God, but Inventing God even made me wonder if I had not overestimated that earlier work.

Mosley is particularly horrible at similes and metaphors--he tends to err on the side of overly familiar or blasé ones-- which one would hope would not be such a difficult thing for a writer.
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