Friday, November 27, 2020

The SpireThe Spire by William Golding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel of 1964 by the inestimable William Golding (of Lord of the Flies fame) tackles a familiar pillar of modern life by showcasing it from 800 years ago.

The themes? Religion and madness.

Indeed, this is quite a novel of our age. First, build a barely adequate church with a minimal foundation and then try to make it rise to the heavens like a ghetto retelling of the Tower of Babel.

When people tell you it can't be done but you hold all the cards and can have them burned as heretics for denying your will, you MAY or MAY NOT descend into madness while trying to twist yourself into knots trying to make reality conform to your will.

It sounds VERY modern, doesn't it?

I like the idea. I really do. But honestly, I kept trying to read this as a wonderfully biting satire and it really didn't QUITE go in that direction. A finger rising toward the sky, to me, sounded like a *middle* finger. All the wonderfully strange descriptions of these people as they do relatively normal things truly delighted me, too, but then the rest of the novel became something of a sermon.

In other words, it was kind of a mixed bag for me. If I read it like a classic novel in its own right, I'd still be trying to compare it to the better Pillars of Earth or even a bit of Thornbirds, but in the end, it just felt like a criticism of the *many* people who rationalize their way into making everyone's lives a living hell.

Good, but not ALL that great. And I've read a lot of other books that do it just as well or better. So. Alas...

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