Author: Michel Faber

This is an odd little book, which made me think a bit--delightfully.  It brings forth the irony that the multiple wars in the Middle East are occurring in the "cradle of civilization."  This truism was always on my mind as we fraudulently went into those insane Iraq-Afghanistan occupations sold to us as wars.  What a farce.  Unfortunately, a blood soaked farce--at our expense and to the huge profit of the warmongering greedy war-pig corporations.  I used to work for a subsidiary of one of these war-pig corporations, and fellow employees would always shudder at the thought of the military budget being cut.  I always told them to get a new job.  Always to no avail, of course.

Theo is an intellectual, professor type working on museum stuff over in Iraq.  He's a jazz aficionado.  (There's a humorous bit when he's breaking up with his female significant other, where he's digging out his Coltrane CDs from in-between her REO Speedwagon's "greatest hits."  LOL.)  Anyway, his place of employ is bombed and he receives a lovely face full glass.  In the immediate aftermath of the incident, he notices some pristine scrolls of papyrus lazily jutting out of a shattered artifact.  It turns out that it's a memoir by a guy name Malchus, who actually knew Jesus and personally witnessed His crucifixion!  Jesus!  So, Theo decides to write a book sharing what Malchus had to say.

Malchus' tale of Jesus’s crucifixion is not an angelic event, bathed in sunbeams and fairy dust.  The Son of God is naked and His feces is running down beyond his legs, feet, and the crucifix itself.  Also, Jesus uncontrollably urinates on Malchus, who's standing nearest to the dying Savior.  Pee gets in his Malcus' eyes--but that's alright--because it gives him "divine" eyesight!  The Lord takes a long time to die.  He tries to pull Himself up from time to time so he can breathe.  He makes lots of unholy dying man noises.  "Please, somebody, please finish me," Jesus cried.  After the Son has croaked, He's left to hang there for several days.  Birds peck out his eyes and eat his entrails.  The Roman soldiers cut the body down unceremoniously, letting the corpse "fall on the earth like a sack of flour."  Malchus coughs up the cash for Jesus' burial, in dirt; there is no mention of a tomb.  There are allusions to drug use.  (Or, urine in the eyes?)  There's no Resurrection per se, but Malchus and some other followers have a hallucinogenic trip of some kind and see Jesus as he was before the crucifixion.  He doesn't talk.  He just waves his hands around in gestures.

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Not a crucifixion filled with sunbeams and fairy dust.

The book is a smash hit!  However, the Christian community doesn't care for Theo's book.  OF COURSE!  He gets the usual death threats from the wonderful Christians that culminates in a bookstore bombing and the kidnapping of the author.  The two guys that kidnapped Theo are an truly odd couple.  The criminals argue frequently and end up fighting over a gun and one of them gets shot dead.  Theo is also shot in the side.  He is then set free and has a rather strange journey to a hospital involving him stumbling around, bleeding out, and a bus ride.

The ending is part cryptic, part apocalyptic, and part sh*t happens.  Our "gross flesh" can't comprehend the thoughts that come from it.