From Publishers Weekly
In this collection of essays and short fiction, Church (The Guinness Book of Me
) explores the gray area between morality and immorality with mixed results. The book is divided into two sections, Ethics and the shorter Aesthetics, which roughly correspond to nonfiction and fiction. The first entry, Practical Real-Life Responses to Theoretical Killings or Hypothetical Killers & the Men Who Love Them, is by far the most thought provoking of the collection. Church questions whether it is ever morally permissible to take an action that causes harm—in this case, the classic dilemma of whether to shove a man in front of a runaway trolley to prevent a larger collision. Church loses steam in the book's second part when he moves away from philosophical questions. His mini-lesson How Not to Tell a Story About Blood in a Bathtub—a list of do not's whose elaborations obliquely tell a story—falls flat, as do the fiction in the form of letters to Abraham Lincoln and TV's Bionic Man. While the ethical dilemmas Church grapples with are intriguing, their power is diluted by all the extraneous musings. B&w photos. (Nov.)
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