By Nich Mulgrew
God, having taken the form of a wounded female refugee stranded in the deserts of Darfur, is, ironically, alive at the beginning of American author Ron Currie Jr.’s debut novel. Stripped of all divine power, God, or Sora as the woman is called, is left to wander between refugee camps, with an infinite supply of sorghum and a heart heavy with guilt, on the Earth He created to experience its horrors first-hand. While the novel, originally a collection of short stories, starts off in this admittedly confusing scenario, it is not long before God is lying dead on a Sudanese battlefield, a victim to the savagery of His creations. And it is only then that the real meat of God Is Dead is found: what results from God’s death is what could be plainly described as a sort of hell on Earth, as man learns to exist without Him. While this could very be horribly depressing, Currie’s shining prose, reminiscent of the likes of Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse-Five) and Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club), turns this book away from being simply a melancholic dirge and gives it an absurd, almost hilarious, edge. Upon the realisation of God’s death, the world begins to irreparably change: parents turn their children into objects of worship; nations wage holy war, based on philosophical arguments and waves of mass suicide sweep the Western world. While the stories are a bit disjointed because of their original format, this book remains utterly readable. Currie’s writing retains a rich and textured quality throughout the book, standing out as well-crafted stories.Extremely entertaining, nightmarish and eerily prophetic, God Is Dead kept this reviewer hooked.