Tom Donaghy's Special Review of The Devil and Pastor Gus
WARNING: You may not want to read this review until you've read The Devil and Pastor Gus. It contains several spoilers. If you've already read Pastor Gus, though, see if you agree with what Tom has written.|
I have, with deep regret, finished reading your Novel THE DEVIL AND PASTOR GUS. It could have kept me entertained many chapters hence. What an excellent narrative voice you possess. However, I must start off by telling you that chapter 49 was one of the most interesting and surprising chapters I have ever read. By far the peak of this book.
Your off-the-cuff social commentary is at times hilarious and spot on, like Donna's remark on page 193, ''I was born in America. That makes me a Christian, right?'' I know people who think like this.
As I said in a comment on FACEBOOK, I was a little disappointed in the portrayal of the devil until I got to page 174. How the devil chuckled and it continued to rise until it sounded ''like a bird of prey celebrating a successful kill.'' was what I was hoping for in the devil.
Chapter 38 was another telling commentary on society and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The way you handled Matties death, something I was hoping against against all reason, was very nice. No deathbed agony scenes, no awful description of suffering... just a swift scene of an ambulance and motorcycle leaving. So well understated I just marveled at the lines. That really impressed me.
Mostly I kinda liked Pastor Gus. I have known men who aspire to such goodness but have very real failings and I think it would have been sweet to see Gus, Peter-like, fail miserably along the way with something. To stand up again, dust off his shirt,and continue with his ministry, Gus would have been a more realistic person.
You comments on pages 135-136 about church organization, people and committees could be broadened into a satire.
At the top of chapter 31 I wrote the words ''riveting''. I really liked the way you fleshed out all the medical information. AN interesting chapter that explained a lot of medical stuff in a way that didn't distract form the theme.
Page seven had me writing the word ''forked'' in the margin. I certainly could relate to what the pastor wanted to do. It so reminded me of the words in a Dylan Thomas poem DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT:
The ending of the actual book, before the Epilogue, was just perfect. yea. I can see that as the way to go out. It would have been a kicker to leave it at that. But the philosophical explanations in the epilogue helps the reader understand the legal position of Pastor Gus though I think you were just wanting to be amusing...
What can I say? I liked the book a lot. Very nice, tight writing. Playful at times.