A New York Times Notable Book: The People vs. God in “a funny, ferocious fantasy” from the two-time Nebula Award–winning author (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
Hallelujah! God is not dead. He’s just been a deep-freeze coma in the Arctic. Strapped for cash, the Vatican has sold the body (a bargain at $1.3 billion!) to Baptists in Florida. Enterprising souls that they are, they’ve turned the Corpus Dei into a popular, two-mile long theme-park attraction at Orlando’s Celestial City USA—hooked up to the largest life-support system on earth. Then things get weird.
Martin Candle, a justice of the peace who’s suffered a series of devastating setbacks, decides to put Him on trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity. Now, to accumulate evidence for the prosecution, Candle enters God’s brain on a steamer to find out what in the world the Almighty could possibly have been thinking all these years.
What ensues in this sequel to James Morrow’s World Fantasy Award–winning Towing Jehovah is a “square off for the greatest moral debate of all time . . . [and it’s] not to be missed” (Booklist).
“Surreal . . . dark and powerful.” —Publishers Weekly
“A wildly imaginative novel . . . as barbed with high and low comedy as an Aristophanes play—and just as fundamentally serious.” —The Bloomsbury Review
“Hilarious . . . [Morrow] demonstrates a sharp mind, [and] a sharper tongue . . . Salman Rushdie, eat your heart out.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune
God isn't dead after all. He's just in a coma. The angel who announced the Creator's demise in Morrow's World Fantasy Award-winning Towing Jehovah (1994) was simply wrong. God's body is no longer controlled by the Catholic Church, either. Strapped for funds, the Vatican has sold the Corpus Dei to the Baptists, who (shades of Stanley Elkin's The Living End, 1979) have turned the body into the central attraction at a religious theme park. Then a Pennsylvania justice of the peace named Martin Candle gets prostate cancer and loses his beloved wife in a freak automobile accident. Outraged, Job-like Martin decides to put God on trial before the World Court in The Hague. As in Towing Jehovah, Morrow combines black comedy with theological speculation in an often painful examination of God's possible responsibility for human suffering. There are some powerful and surreal scenes here, as when Martin, gathering information for the prosecution, enters God's brain and finds himself on a packet steamer captained by Saint Augustine, their destination the Garden of Eden. Along the way, they run into various biblical characters, many of whom applaud Martin's actions. Much of the narrative is heavy going, consisting of detailed discussions of "theodicy," the "attempt to reconcile the fact of evil with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent Creator." Equally hard to deal with, though for emotional reasons, are the extended descriptions of human suffering, ranging from the gas chambers of Auschwitz to Martin's cancer. Ultimately, this is a dark and powerful sequel, but one lacking subtlety as well as the surprise and adventurousness of the original.