The Testament of Gideon Mack is James Robertson's acclaimed novel exploring faith and belief.
For Gideon Mack, faithless minister, unfaithful husband and troubled soul, the existence of God, let alone the Devil, is no more credible than that of ghosts or fairies. Until the day he falls into a gorge and is rescued by someone who might just be Satan himself.
Mack's testament - a compelling blend of memoir, legend, history, and, quite probably, madness - recounts one man's emotional crisis, disappearance, resurrection and death. It also transports you into an utterly mesmerising exploration of the very nature of belief.
'Fascinating, extraordinary, strange, rich' Sunday Telegraph
'Overwhelmingly compassionate and thought-provoking. Demands another read' Irvine Welsh, Guardian
'Hugely enjoyable, very funny, deeply refreshing . . . its touch of devilry makes it even more of a joy' Herald
'Fabulous . . . a work of the highest literary quality' Scotland on Sunday
'Astonishingly accomplished, utterly compelling from start to finish . . . could well be the best novel published anywhere this year' Big Issue
'James Robertson is a brilliant novelist. It's a long time since I read a novel in which the contemporary notions of faith and belief were so frankly tested' Ali Smith
James Robertson is the author of the novels The Fanatic, Joseph Knight, The Testament of Gideon Mack, And the Land Lay Still and The Professor of Truth. The Testament of Gideon Mack was longlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize, picked by Richard and Judy's Book Club, and shortlisted for the Saltire Book of the Year award, and And the Land Lay Still was the winner of the Saltire Book of the Year Award 2010.
Robertson offers in his absorbing American debut (two novels have been published in the U.K.) the cleverly framed autobiography of a Scottish minister who confronts the devil. A brief foreword claims the book is an autobiography penned by Gideon Mack, a Church of Scotland minister who, after allegedly encountering the devil, becomes a pariah and madman before disappearing. Raised by a harsh minister father, Gideon abandons faith at an early age, but later discovers it's possible to "be a Christian without involving Christ very much" and secures the pulpit at a small coastal church where he proves to be a gifted preacher. After his wife dies in a traffic accident, Gideon consummates a long-held obsession with old friend Elsie, whose husband, John, is also a longtime friend. A conflicted Gideon, while walking with another minister, falls into a gorge and is presumed dead. But he appears downstream, only slightly injured, three days later. His survival is miraculous, but his account of what happened is scandalous: he was saved by the devil. Gideon's struggle to find meaning in his experience leads to his undoing. Gideon's sly unreliability is cloaked by Robertson's mastery of language and command of the elements of fiction; the combination is addictive and captivating.
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Read it - or you'll regret it!
"The Testament of Gideon Mack" is one of my all time favourite books. It is as moving as it is clever, humorous and thought-provoking. I read it for the first time for my Advanced Higher English course in school - I picked it up and found it near-impossible to put down!
Like I said - read this or you'll regret it! :)