Monday, October 24, 2005

The Gospel According to Anne Rice

I don't have time to read novels any more. Blogging takes all my discretionary time. But if I did, I would be tempted to get Anne Rice's next book. According to Blogsnow this piece from Newsweek/MSNBC Entertainment is getting a lot of links.

In two weeks, Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and—under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure—of soft-core S&M encounters, will publish "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt," a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. "I promised," she says, "that from now on I would write only for the Lord." It's the most startling public turnaround since Bob Dylan's "Slow Train Coming" announced that he'd been born again.

Get ready.
Rice's most daring to try to get inside the head of a 7-year-old kid who's intermittently aware that he's also God Almighty. "There were times when I thought I couldn't do it," she admits. The advance notices say she's pulled it off: Kirkus Reviews' starred rave pronounces her Jesus "fully believable." But it's hard to imagine all readers will be convinced when he delivers such lines as "And there came in a flash to me a feeling of understanding everything, everything!" The attempt to render a child's point of view can read like a Sunday-school text crossed with Hemingway: "It was time for the blessing. The first prayer we all said together in Jerusalem ... The words were a little different to me. But it was still very good." Yet in the novel's best scene, a dream in which Jesus meets a bewitchingly handsome Satan—smiling, then weeping, then raging—Rice shows she still has her great gift: to imbue Gothic chills with moral complexity and heartfelt sorrow.

Here's the link. In addition to her bio, lifestyle and writing history, there's an audio link to a reading of the opening pages. I liked what I heard. She has done her homework. In addition to the canonical writings she has taken freely from the New Testament Apocrypha.

I have read worse distortions of scripture passing as serious.
And it seems less pornographic than that Passion movie.

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