11 May 2008

I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan

"I, Lucifer, Fallen Angel, Prince Of Darkness, Bringer of Light, Ruler of Hell, Lord of the Flies, Father of Lies, Apostate Supreme, Tempter of Mankind, Old Serpent, Prince of This World, Seducer, Accuser, Tormentor, Blasphemer, and without a doubt Best Fuck in the Seen and Unseen Universe (ask Eve, that minx) have decided - oo la la! - to tell all."

So reads the first paragraph of what I have now deemed Brandon's-got-great-taste-birthday-present-extraordinaire. This psychological portrayal of one of history's most hated figures made me think about free will and what I would suffer in order to maintain it. When God offers Lucifer the opportunity to "redeem" himself by living as a human for one month, Lucifer smirks, says yes, and proceeds to enjoy his one month vacation. Through his actions and his thoughts while being Declan Gun, Lucifer reveals a story not of good versus evil but of an indomitable will versus an indomitable will.

Two things are going on in this story: one, Lucifer is living (a version of) Declan Gun's life, experience a world with sensory perception; two, Lucifer is writing a story about what really happened in heaven. The second was more interesting to me, being theological and all; and yet the first reminded me of the beauty of being alive. Luce gets drunk on sight and sound, smell, taste, and touch through walks in the rain, cocaine, sex, food, alcohol: everything is up for grabs. The beauty of his thoughts as he relishes even the smells of the dirtiest places made me almost feel guilty for ignoring, or rather taking for granted, my ability to sense the world around me.

The real pull for me, however, was the theology expressed in the book. I haven't even begun to wrap my mind around all of the variant, tantalizing ideas running rampant. Apparently, Lucifer had a good reason for getting upset with God; he was sick of the "undiluted adulation" God expected from the angels. Lucifer just wanted to control his own life; he wanted choice. Good for him. A life of perpetual kiss-assery sounds pretty damn bleak to me.

I could go on, but I need more time to process. A great, great birthday gift. Thanks Brandon!

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  1. It looks like you enjoyed this as much as I did- which was the idea! Even stripping away the tantalizing ideas and views on theology, the author's wit and agile writing alone is worth the read. I found myself laughing out loud many times.
    Actually, one of my favorite little quips was when Lucifer and Gabriel where talking in a cathedral, and Lucifer says something like, "Hey there, Gabe! Mary still saving her cherry for me?"
    Also, your post reminded me of something I wrote in Spain, which I've posted.

  2. I very much enjoyed the writing style, particularly sarcastic and witty. Typically I don't enjoy the "direct to you" style of writing (Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White excepted) but I thought it was very effective here.

    Anyone who can write a scene where the devil is about to rape a woman and I'm feeling sorry for him because he was thwarted...well, that's an impressive style of writing.

    Now, for anyone who hasn't read the book, I swear that I in no way support rape.


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