Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Book No. 14: David Maine - The Book of Samson

David Maine is one of my favorite contemporary authors. I loved The Preservationist, liked Fallen, and really like this one. Samson tells his story in the first person. He doesn't realize (could not realize, even) that to modern ears he comes across as a psychopath and an arrogant lout. To his mind, he is a simple champion for the LORD. Maine's book never directly asks what sort of evil god would have given Samson so much power, but he strongly hints at the question, especially when Meneth, the priest of the Philistine god Dagon, tells him towards the end of his life that no, the Philistines do not plan to celebrate his death by destroying the Israelites. They will simply go back to their farms, glad to be rid of him, a mass murderer free of conscience. But, as you probably remember, the LORD allows Samson to commit mass-murder one last time, despite his foolishness and stated weakness for wine and women. That's an Old Testament champion for you: killer of men, women, children, babies, and animals, filled with the bloodlust of an Old Testament god.

The Book of Samson is not as funny as either The Preservationist or Fallen. It's funny, yes, but it's also angrier. And that's ok. It works with the material.

Maine has another book just out called Monster, 1959 that appears to leave the Bible behind in favor of B-movies. I intend to get around to it as soon as I clear my reading backlog.


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