Ron Currie Jr. is a new author to the world of publishing, having had stories published in Glimmer Train, The Sun, Other Voices, and Night Train; God is Dead is his first novel. It is a slim book, only 180 pages long, with an unusual layout: the pages are taller than a regular hardcover, but narrower. With a haunting image on the front of a dog looking into a cage where there is another dog lying on its side, apparently dead; the package of God is Dead immediately catches one’s eye.
The title offers an obvious hint of what is to come in the novel. The book is split up into nine chapters that in some ways stand on their own as short stories. In the first God has taken the form of a young Dinka woman in the Sudan in the region of Darfur where she is injured and then killed. God is now dead and word begins to spread, soon enveloping the entire world in this doom. And so each story plays out in a different part of the world, with distinctive characters, in different times.
The second story is about a young girl who is now done with high school and wishes to sever all ties and connections with it, go to college in South Carolina, and pretend her past never happened. The story ends with the poignant scene of a priest committing suicide by jumping off a bridge. It is as a small and seemingly insignificant viewpoint that really speaks for the emotions and sensations that the rest of the world is going through. Religion and faith now seem pointless and so the novel goes from there into different peoples’ lives: boys who can’t take the anarchy anymore and begin a group suicide; adults who turn their beliefs and faiths to children who are pure and innocent and seen brilliant; a war between the post-modern anthropologists and the environmental psychologists that involves the entire world.
Incredible story aside, Currie Jr. has a unique voice and a great talent for what he does, using a sharp and descriptive writing style that I will look forward to seeing again in his future novels. Ron Currie Jr. is a great new novelist to be watched, and God is Dead is an impressive first novel that is more than an introduction to his imagination.
If you liked this review and are interested in purchasing this book, click here.
Originally written on August 17th 2007 ©Alex C. Telander.