Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A foil-wrapped refresher

The Fire Gospel (Canongate Myths)The Fire Gospel by Michel Faber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I purchased this over the Christmas period as a present to myself, after liking the review, and because it was going for such a bargain price. As soon as I'd done that, I squirreled it away in the archives and forgot all about it.
I'd previously been reading my way through The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow, and was feeling soggy and saturated by the time I'd reached the end and as I was looking for something short and cheery I felt this Fire Gospel might just be the thing to dry me out and warm me up a bit.
Except that by the time I'd started to read it I'd completely forgotten what the story was supposed to be about. Therefore, as books have always been a serious matter for me, that's the way I took it.
It would doubtless come as no surprise to seasoned readers to discover that I found myself splurting and coughing not long after starting the book, but it came as a considerable surprise to a greenhorn like me. It happened to me one morning when all-of-a-sudden I  sneezed over my morning cuppa, spraying a mist of tea and Canderel Sweetener all over my Kindle screen. Oh dear!

Yet it was a nice surprise to be expecting a cold sandwich, only to find that the dish had been flamb├ęd by the waiter, right in front of my eyes and at no extra cost. The book set off a sequence of small explosions in my psyche which danced like jumping jacks - cracking and leaping and yet hopping back to snigger at you when you thought the show was over.

Theo (our hero) had wanted (and won) fame and fortune, having landed himself a gorgeous, slim and highly seductive lady who now manages his affairs as well as acting as his care-giver who gives him as much sex as he wants; she's also a highly successful literary agent who can pleasure him with a spare eye glued to her wristwatch whilst monitoring total sales volumes. One hand pleasures him (sexually), and the other one acts as nanny and mouth mopper:
"Jennifer, still talking, jammed her cellphone between her jaw and shoulder, and extracted a small item from her jacket pocket. She handed him what at first appeared to be a condom foil but proved, when torn open, to contain a moist towelette."

At one point the selfsame "wife" must needs produce a gun to protect her charge. It appears as if from nowhere from her slender person before slickly returning to its source: "She had already returned her weapon to wherever she’d concealed it before. Theo couldn’t imagine a cavity in her snugly tailored clothing where a hunk of steel could be stashed away without causing a bulge, but it was done."

Yet for me the killer chapter was the one where the Amazon reviews are scanned by our hero, giving delightful examples of pig-ignorant attitudes to books and reading:

"If you read the King James (per) version you won’t see the name Yahweh and if you don’t see it you can’t call it and therefore can’t be saved. Clever! So, in conclusion, read this book for the information but beware the traps and pitfalls. Satan’s hand is all over it."

and the one which creased me up until my chest ached and I was left gasping:

"I haven't read this book yet but I can't wait to read it so I am reviewing it early. The other people on Amazon who say don't read it are brainwashed stooges of the Catholic religion, which has been sexually abusing children for 100's of years. Who needs it? I already LOVE this book."

Left breathless, I can only add gaspingly: "If this book jaundices your opinion about Amazon reviews, give thanks you're not reading this review on it"

Wackily delightful, I award it five stars.
But not to amazon because they've got 16 of them already.

View all my reviews

1 comment:

  1. NB: The Crimson Petal and the White is currently being serialised on BBC2. Final episode is tomorrow, Wednesday 27th April, 2011.