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God Is Dead Hardcover – July 5, 2007
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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)
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God Is Dead is funny, haunting, and unlike anything you've ever read. You'll think about Ron Currie's world long after you've turned the last page. Weirdly wonderful and wonderfully weird, God Is Dead is absolutely unforgettable. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
There's a few points where the events are obviously unable to happen in real life, but for the most part, it is all fairly realistic. It's also very intriguing to see how he thinks the world would play out if we had a god and that god ended up leaving us on our own. Some people couldn't handle it and some handle it adequately, but it's obvious that everyone is changed from this butterfly effect. The shot fired from that man in the desert that takes the life force from the girl that god chose to inhabit was the catalyst for so much more than we could ever think in our waking lives.
In a way, it echos to how we are as a civilization. For the most part, we don't really pay attention to the most minuscule of details, but those one-moment-events can change everything and we don't realize it until it's too late.
"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. Talking heads and self-declared experts offered any number of theories, but the gist of it, intuited by most people, was this: God had created the universe and set it spinning, but it would continue chugging along despite the fact that he was no longer around to keep things tidy."
The potential message then becomes: whether God is alive or not, hope is precarious--short in quantity and easily ditched for the more readily available despair. You may find comfort in God, but this comfort can never be 100% safe or fulfilling, for how do you know he is who he says he is? How do you know he will not turn on you and eat you?
Basically: You don't know and you can't know. There is always a core choice to be made each day whether God lives or not and that choice is about getting out of bed and living a life in which the rising and setting of the sun is all you can count on is enough.