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The Eternal Footman
by James Morrow
ISBN 0151293252 / 9780151293254 / 0-15-129325-2
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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"Homo sapiens is an amazing animal.... Get God and Aristotle off its back, and miracles start becoming the norm," theorizes a hapless human in James Morrow's The Eternal Footman. Capping off the hilarious trilogy that began with Towing Jehovah and Blameless in Abaddon, Footman tells the story of what happens after God is undeniably dead. If His giant, deteriorating corpse in the first two novels wasn't enough, now His holy skull stares down from orbit like a melancholy moon, offering daily proof to the Western world that there's nobody left to pray to.
Cirrus clouds rimmed God's skull. He appeared to be wearing a white toupee. At least there weren't any ads today. Why the Vatican permitted the multinationals to aim their lasers at His brow was a mystery she couldn't fathom. Contemplating the Cranium Dei was depressing enough. You shouldn't have to read COKE IS IT in the bargain.
Depressing? That's not the half of it, as Judeo-Christians, sure at last that nothing but blackness awaits beyond death, become "Nietzsche-positive" and are stalked by the leering embodiments of personal apocalypse. Nora Burkhart's son Kevin is the first of millions to succumb to the awful symptoms of abulia, the fatal result of death-awareness. Western civilization crumbles while Nora struggles to take her comatose son to a legendary clinic in Mexico, where a strange, powerful man is rumored to have a cure. Meanwhile, a spiritual sculptor finds inspiration in a new pantheon after his masterpiece is mangled by the Vatican--but the new gods may require the ultimate sacrifice.
This is James Morrow, after all, and despair is always accompanied by enlightenment in his satirical morality tales. Taking cues from Dante, the legend of Gilgamesh, and an imagined debate between Erasmus and Martin Luther, Morrow finds redemption for humanity in the simplest acts of decency. Giant stone brains, God's evil intestines, and the still-guilty captain of the oil-spilling tanker Valparaiso make memorable appearances in The Eternal Footman, a worthy finish to Morrow's trilogy, and a fair but passionate defense of "the West's greatest gift to the world, the miraculous faculty of rational doubt." --Therese Littleton [via]