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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.”

3 Comments:

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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