Only Begotten Daughter by James K. Morrow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I hesitate in calling this a satire because it's a highly-charged emotional bomb of a great story IN ADDITION to being some of the cleverest novels of scattershot inversions, sly winks, and outrageously funny situations.
You know, as funny as meeting Jesus in Hell is going to be, serving heroin to the damned in a soup kitchen just before they completely obliterate themselves. Or the realization that Jesus has a sister. A modern one. A true begotten daughter of God. Julie: the one who talks to sponges, gets scolded for performing miracles, gets embroiled in a plot of Satan, and who absolutely ADORES science.
I love Julie. She's so earnest. A good kid. And we get to see her grow up, get into trouble with her alcoholic best friend, save Atlantic City from a conflagration, and send herself to hell for 15 years, voluntarily. Where she gets to know her brother.
The aftermath... ah well, the aftermath is the hard part, emotionally, but what a great read it all is. Almost every line has a freaking SHARP comment to be made on religion and its followers. From the conception of Julie by a Jewish man donating to a sperm bank only to have the authorities freak out because it somehow found an egg in the container, to the anticrucification of the antichrist. Or what God actually turns out to be or where Satan winds up. :)
The text is SHARP.
Sure, we've had a number of classics that skewered religion before, but few do it as regularly and consistently and as cleverly as this one. The real devil is in the details, and this one gets under your skin like the buckshot of a shotgun.
I think, after reading only two of James K. Morrow's books, I've found one of my top favorite authors of all time. :)
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