The Book Against God by James Wood
A Novel

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Synopsis

A Passionate, Profoundly Funny First Novel from "the Best Literary Critic of His Generation" (Adam Begley, Financial Times)



Thomas Bunting, the charming, chaotic, and deeply untruthful narrator of James Wood's wonderful first novel, is in despair. His marriage is disintegrating and his academic career is in ruins: instead of completing his philosophy Ph.D. (still unfinished after seven years), he is secretly writing what he hopes will be his masterwork, a vast atheistic project he has privately entitled "The Book Against God."



But when his father suddenly falls ill, Thomas returns to the tiny village in the north of England where he grew up and where his father still works as a parish priest. There, Thomas hopes, he may finally be able to communicate honestly with his father, a brilliant and formidable Christian example, and sort out his own wayward life. But Thomas is a chronic liar as well as an atheist, and he finds, instead, that once at home he soon reverts to the evasive patterns of his childhood years--with disastrous results.



The story of a husband and wife, a father and son, faith and disbelief, and a hero who couldn't tell the truth if his life depended on it, The Book Against God is at once hilarious and poignant; it introduces an original comic voice--edgy, elegiac, lyrical, and indignant--and, in the irrepressible Thomas Bunting, one of the strangest philosophers in contemporary fiction.



 

About James Wood

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James Wood is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a visiting lecturer at Harvard University. He is the author of How Fiction Works, as well as two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, and a novel, The Book Against God, all published by FSG.
 
Published June 1, 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 277 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Book Against God

The New York Times

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There is, however, something remarkable about the writing in ''Gilead.'' It's not just a matter of writing well, although Robinson demonstrates that talent on every page: the description of the one-eyed grandfather, who ''could make me feel as though he had poked me with a stick, just by looking ...

Nov 28 2004 | Read Full Review of The Book Against God: A Novel

The Guardian

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It is four months since my father died, and I am living in an unpleasant room in Swiss Cottage.

Apr 17 2003 | Read Full Review of The Book Against God: A Novel

Star Tribune

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Review: Arguments for and against the existence of God proliferate in an engaging, biting, sometimes funny novel about a terminal grad-schooler, his pianist wife and his loving, devout parents.

Jun 14 2003 | Read Full Review of The Book Against God: A Novel

New York Magazine

In fact, one of the many ironies that flock around Wood is that it would probably take Wood himself—a world-class praiser who is rarely wrong about authors he loves—to adequately catalogue the many pleasures of reading James Wood.

Aug 03 2008 | Read Full Review of The Book Against God: A Novel

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