Monday, July 05, 2010

Kafka, Maybe?

I'm not sure I know enough about Kafka to say something is Kafka-esque, but let me tell you what happened last week.  The library told me that I couldn't renew Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, because someone else had requested it.  I looked at the system, and I was a little annoyed that they seemed to have recalled my book when there were several others still in the library--there was one copy in transit, five copies in, and mine checked out. But ours is not to reason why.  I made my plans to return it.

Part of those plans involved reserving another copy for myself.  I was third on the list.  Since one was in transit, that meant that mine would go directly to the person who had placed the request, and I would get the next available copy.  Lame, huh?  But it gets better: in the two minutes between my first check and my placing the request, a different copy--one of the other five--had gone into transit, heading off to fulfill the needs of some avid bookworm like myself. 

Now what this meant is that, when I returned my copy of the book, it would enter the system and be returned to me.  This process (knowing the BPL) would likely take three or four days.

Fortunately, I was able to bow out of this amusing little dance.  I canceled my reservation, and was therefore able to renew the book.  So all's right with the world--no worries there.  For a minute there, though, it was one of those moments that makes you love to hate The System.

It's a good book--hilarious and sincere at the same time.  It's not reverent, but it's deeply respectful.  I would not have believed that you could write a book about the life of Jesus with this many curse words and still manage to come up with 'respectful,' but there it is. 

Joshua (Jesus) and Biff are real young men--Jesus more serious and thoughtful, but not constantly so.  They're both basically good kids, one the class clown, the other the valedictorian who's got the hopes and dreams of his family (or, in this case, the world) riding on him and takes it seriously.  It doesn't make him a prig, though. 

The angel who Biff talks about at the beginning of every chapter is kind of annoying--or rather, the depiction of him is.  I was actually pretty skeptical before I started reading the book, because, having read Fool, I expected something a little more over-the top, irreverent, maybe even dirty.  And I have to say, I thought that would be a pretty cheap, silly thing.  This book is not that--and I'm really glad--except maybe those chapter-beginnings.  It's just kind of cheap humor, is all--the angel is addicted to soap operas, curses like a sailor, and is kind of an idiot.  If the whole book looked like that, I'd be sick of it.  As it is, I think it's making a point. 

I think I love Christopher Moore.

1 comment:

JMLC said...

He is pretty fantastic. Lamb is my favorite one of his. and go you for "beating the system!