Book: God Is Dead
Author: Ron Currie, Jr.
Type of Book: Fiction, short story collection
Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: This one is hard to classify as odd. It’s one of those books that is hard to classify as being in any genre. It resembles some of Vonnegut’s books in that regard, so perhaps that is enough to earn the odd label. Maybe it is odd because it made me wonder if there is a word for eating God. I guess theophagia works but I’d always associated that with the concept of communion. Is there a better word for literally eating the rotting corpse of God? If a book makes you ponder that question, it’s probably odd.
Availability: Published by Penguin Books in 2007, you can get a copy here:
Comments: I bought this book at Christmas time, and I very nearly put it back on the shelf because the cover appalled me. It features a dog sitting outside a cage. Inside the cage is another dog, curled up in a miserable little pile. I couldn’t tell if the caged dog was dead or asleep and not knowing made it worse. In fact, just thinking about the picture is making my stomach hurt a little. I cannot abide it when bad things happen to animals. This reaction taints a lot of my interaction with the world. I bought a Jack Ketchum book knowing full well the plot begins with the death of a dog and even so, I had to stop reading it. I just couldn’t take it. I hope Rugero Deodato, if there is an afterlife, spends a few years getting smacked around by a very large turtle and a couple of very angry pigs. So of course, given this tender-hearted tendency of mine coupled with my perverse desire to torture myself, I had to buy this book that featured a potentially dead dog on the cover being mourned by one of his own.
My instincts were right. This book was going to break my heart and I knew it before I opened it. The plot of this book is a cliche, a hackneyed conversation every wine-cooler and cheap beer-filled college freshman has had: what would happen if God died? But despite the fact that the premise is not original, this book is surprisingly fresh and frightening, at turns tender and sickening, hopeful and horrible. While there were elements that did not work as well as others, the fearlessness in which Currie approaches this story allows me to overlook its weaker parts.