Review: Blameless in Abaddon

Blameless in Abaddon
Blameless in Abaddon by James K. Morrow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this sequel to Morrow’s excellent and imaginative novel, Towing Jehovah. This one recreates the Job story with a justice of the peace in a small town named Martin Candle in the unenviable position on the dung heap. The Corpus Dei from the previous book was bought by Baptists and towed to Florida as the centerpiece of a theme park to compete with Disney World, and Martin puts it on trial for crimes against humanity at The Hague. It’s as amusing and joyfully blasphemous as the first, and does not shy from real philosophical discussion about the nature of a benevolent, omniscient and omnipotent God in a world scarred by evil, misfortune and terror. Morrow has a talent for existential absurdity and sardonic humor; half the novel is narrated by the Devil himself, whose snarky asides on human history are worth the price of admission. Morrow’s second greatest talent is crafting endearing and realistic characters, which were enough to get me through a somewhat tedious trial – my eyes glaze over during most legal drama – and a difficult ending that brings us to an inevitable, but ultimately unsatisfying conclusion.

Rather like life itself: It’s unfair. Do your part to make it less so.

Towing Jehovah comes highly recommended, and if you enjoy that, you must read this one. He closes the cycle with a third book, and I’ll be reading that one soon. It took me 10 years to get to reading the second one, so don’t wait up for me.

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