Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
God Says No Hardcover – May 25, 2009
Up to 50% off featured Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense books
Featured Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense books are up to 50% off for a limited time. Learn More
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
From the Inside Flap
A tender, funny tour of a mind struggling to do the right thing. A
revelatory and sympathetic guide to a misunderstood world.”
--Steve Martin, author of "Shopgirl" and "Born Standing Up"
"James Hannaham's GOD SAYS NO introduces a groundbreaking new American
voice: a writer of spectacular sentences who has trained his sights on a
world that has hardly been touched by literary fiction. Topical and
ambitious, disturbing and hilarious, GOD SAYS NO is everything a person
could ask of a first novel and twice that much. "
--Jennifer Egan, author of "Look at Me" and "The Keep"
"This novel is an absolute original. Gary Gray's search for wholeness and
acceptance is a heartfelt (and often very funny) plea for all men (and
women) to be embraced just as they are. A wonderful debut."
--Martha Southgate, author of "Third Girl From The Left"
GOD SAYS NO is a book that was desperate to be written but well out of
reach. And then James Hannaham came along and wrote it, with the kind of
care, wit, sympathy and fury that the book deserved. Imagine Candide
okay, imagine Candide as a black man, a southerner, a Christian
fundamentalist, middle-class, obese, married, a father, and utterly, even
If a comedy, in the classical sense, is a story then ends in a
marriage, and a tragedy is a story that ends with a death, then what do you
call a book that ends with a split and a resurrection? A truly daring first
novel, and something to read.”
--Jim Lewis, author of "Why the Tree Loves the Ax"
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
It is always interesting to find a protagonist who is clearly less intelligent or less in the know than the author. Gray is one of these, and his innocence makes him a foil for the endless string of absurdities that is American Sexuality. Nobody really gets off scott-free here, and nobody is fully skewered. The most potent part of the book is when Gray is at Restoration Ministries (where they turn homosexuals straight). The idea is hard to think of but with mockery, but this is where Gray has his first taste of introspection, of acceptance, and of cameraderie. As a reader you feel the painful irony of it; you are pulled in two directions: wishing for Gray to escape their clutches and hoping he'll stick around with them long enough to give himself an honest look.
The writing is poetic, surprising, and extremely funny. James Hannaham has a truly original voice with an important (and entertaining) story to tell. A majorly good new novel by a major new American writer.
We first meet Gary at a Christian college, fighting his roommate over a broken Jesus. Gary’s language, by turns sincere, naïve and lustful, reflects not only a religious upbringing, but also his Southern roots; he describes a love as fleeting as “a sugarcube in a hot shower.” But even as he tries to remain true to his moral code—chastising those take the Lord’s name in vain, for instance—his desire for other men overwhelms up his judgment. Gary prays for the Lord to change him but soon takes matters into his own hands: he impregnates and wed his fellow student and Disney World admirer, Annie. Despite his best intentions, however, Gary finds himself drawn to public restrooms and parks for his sexual urges until he finally finds himself in an ex-gay ministry.
Here, too, Hannaham avoids portraying the ministry as villainous. Even if the ultimate goals of Resurrection Ministries is suspect, the support mechanism the men in the ministry provide is touching, even as they relapse with too-long hugs or unsportsmanlike butt-grabs.Read more ›
Gary Gray marries his first girlfriend, a Samoan, a fellow student from Central Florida Christian College who loves Disney World as much as he does. They are 19 years old, God-fearing, and eager to start a family, but a week before their wedding Gary goes into a cottage/tearoom and lets something happen. God Says No is his testimony — the story of a young black Christian struggling with desire and belief, with his love for his wife and his appetite for other men, told in a singular, emotional voice. Driven by desperation and religious visions, the path that Gary Gray takes — from revival meetings to "out" life in Atlanta to a pray-away-the-gay ministry in Memphis, Tennessee — gives a riveting picture of how a life like his can be lived, and how it can't.
He learns Tearoom etiquette very quickly and suffers paranoia and suicidal thoughts.
When involved in a train crash, his first thought is that God has saved him for a purpose p- he even thinks he sees Jesus, with the nail wound through the wrist instead of the hand, which is an obsession of his. Then he thinks it’s the ideal chance to be thought missing, presumed dead… He throws his wallet into the wreckage, yet later says it was stolen and still later has cash to pay for a cab – the author should have decided which of these two to discard.
He has a relationship with a good guy but he cannot give himself freely because of his guilt.
Gray spends the novel's last third in a gay reform camp outside Memphis, and even though it's clear that Hannaham views such efforts as fruitless and damaging, instead of mocking southerners, Bible-thumpers and gay reformers, Hannaham humanises them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book, which presented clever situational comedy, genuine insight upon the human condition, and a sincere depiction of the American South.Published on May 5, 2013 by David Wishart
I bought this book because I liked the idea of it, and I was also convinced by the fact that it was presumably a thought-provoking, insightful book about a character torn between... Read morePublished on October 6, 2010 by cjeffers
I thought this book would be really interesting.... it was not. This is not a page turner. I had to fight to finish this book, I really could not connect with the main character... Read morePublished on September 1, 2010 by Frederick A. Nelson II
God Says No is book that is an unpredictable read. I found that when I thought the story was going to go one way it went another. Read morePublished on August 8, 2010 by Kirk Palmer
It was your basic story of a man with an identity crisis; The story was kind of boring...how many times did he have to incorporate the bathroom scenes into the book? Read morePublished on April 1, 2010 by Bonnie Hardin Mitchell
Hannaham delivers a first novel that is finely wrought, deeply intelligent, and moving. For a book that deals with some of the most relevant issues to the American culture of... Read morePublished on March 3, 2010 by Ben Williams
I took my time reading this book because I didn't want to miss a word. Every chapter left me wanting more; I felt like I was on this journey with Gary. Read morePublished on October 16, 2009 by dasha
The writing was pretty good, however, the book wasn't too engaging. It's not a, 'can't put it down', type of book. However it's pretty thought provoking.Published on September 27, 2009