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A superlative collection of stories. Destined to be the beginning of a remarkable career.
'A very fine collection of connected short stories - funny, disturbing, ironic and bloody' - Annie Proulx ...
'Highly intelligent- This is a book that I shall certainly re-read, for its comic realism, its warm intelligence, its lack of pretension' A. N. Wilson, Daily Telegraph
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Published: 01 April 2004
Genre: General & literary fiction
Thomas Bunting, charming, chaotic, and deeply untruthful, is in despair. His marriage is disintegrating, and his academic career is in ruins: instead of completing his philosophy PhD, 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 is suddenly taken ill Thomas returns home, to the tiny village in the north of England where his father still works as a parish priest. Thomas hopes that he may finally be able to communicate honestly with his father, a brilliant and formidable Christian example, and sort out his wayward life. But Thomas is a chronic liar, as well as an atheist, and he finds, instead, that once at home he only falls back into the disastrous and evasive patterns of his childhood years.
It is written with lovely, controlled precision. His descriptions deliver little aesthetic shock-charges of pleasure-There are delights of simple recognition-but there are also deeper emotional depth-charges
Striking-The Book Against God is a gifted and winning first novel, neatly knotted at the end
'Thought-provoking and full of sharp-eyed observations of characters and places'
'A work of skilful craftsmanship, which teasingly engages and disengages one's sympathies'
'The novel simply thrums with an intellectual passion rarely seen in fiction these days'
At once hilarious and haunting-It keeps your attention in every sentence
Bernard O'Donoghue, Irish Times
'Spry and confident-by turns gravely comic and hilariously tragic'
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The Independent talk with Wood about the novel
Number 11 in The NY Times Most Notable 2003
JAMES WOOD is a staff writer at the New Yorker and a visiting lecturer at Harvard. In addition to How Fiction Works, he is the author of three essay collections, The Broken Estate, The Irresponsible Self ...