Saturday, 31 December 2005

Not what you want to hear

Tim Farrington’s novel The Monk Downstairs (New York: Harper, 2002) includes some provocative theological comments. In one instance, the former monk, Mike, writes to a friend in the monastery (p. 105): “Tell that to your seminars, proclaim it from the mountaintop: God is the nail that splits our palm to break our grip on the world. He is an unfathomable darkness. He’s not what you want to hear.”


Neumie said...

Sounds like an intersting read...I like that first quote...good stuff:)

Simon said...

That is a great quote! Is the book like that? One Amazon review calls it a "highly polished narrative", that makes me a little wary.

It does sound like a book for grown-ups, in any case... no car chase scenes or gangsters with guns or dangerous secretive blondes, huh?

Still, that is a great quote.

(I wrote a coherent comment, finally. Didn't I? Proud!)

Ben Myers said...

Hi Simon. All your comments are far too coherent (which is why sometimes I'm not clever enough to reply!).

Yes, it's a reasonably good book. It's basically just a love story, with underlying themes of monasticism and the loss of faith. There are some really good moments and some good characters, but on the whole I found the love story a little too sentimental.

Still, some of the descriptions of God are really worth thinking about. A particularly vivid and disturbing one is (p. 172): "God is not a comfort, to be offered like Kleenex. God is a poisoned sea, with broken syringes washing up on the beach. God is shopping malls stretching to the horizon and warplanes in the sky. God is a flat tyre in a rainstorm and beer cans in the ditch, a bottle shattered on a highway overpass and the taste of gunmetal in your mouth. God is dying children."

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