Monday, May 21, 2012

I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan

(from Goodreads): The Prince of Darkness has been given one last shot at redemption, provided he can live out a reasonably blameless life on earth. Highly sceptical, naturally, the Old Dealmaker negotiates a trial period - a summer holiday in a human body, with all the delights of the flesh.

The body, however, turns out to be that of Declan Gunn, a depressed writer living in Clerkenwell, interrupted in his bath mid-suicide. Ever the opportunist, and with his main scheme bubbling in the background, Luce takes the chance to tap out a few thoughts - to straighten the biblical record, to celebrate his favourite achievements, to let us know just what it's like being him.

Neither living nor explaining turns out to be as easy as it looks. Beset by distractions, miscalculations and all the natural shocks that flesh is heir to, the Father of Lies slowly begins to learn what it's like being us.


Glen Duncan definitely deserves credit for having the courage to approach such a controversial topic as telling the Lucifer's side of story. However, the story he tells is a story no man can actually tell, therefore, it comes out nothing if predictable. Nevertheless, Duncan's attempt at it is a good one.

It is clear that Duncan did his research for I, Lucifer, which heavily relies on The Bible. Hence, Duncan's version of Lucifer's tale can be logically deduced from the Christian tradition. From the Fall to the seduction of Eve and the Crucifixion, Lucifer's version of events makes perfect sense in relation to what had already been written about numerous times. An interesting part to me was the similarity of Duncan's re-telling of the Lucifer's Fall to Tolkien's version of creation in The Silmarillion.

The writing style is accommodated to suit the presumed Lucifer's personality: nonchalant, sarcastic, and haughty. However, the initially intriguing trying-to-be-smart wording and snarky remarks eventually get old and tiresome. Also,  constant digressions get in the way of smooth reading a lot.

All in all, I, Lucifer is nothing new or surprising content-wise. Actually, there is not much of the story, as the emphasis is on the telling itself. This, combined with oh-I'm-so-smart-and-snarky style, makes the book boring in places.

RECOMMENDATION: I do not really know whom to recommend this book to. I presume the various Christian churches would call it blasphemous, although its content is basically in concordance with the Bible. You might be interested in I, Lucifer if you want to read something which would make you think about the nature of humankind, religion, and the concepts of good and evil.

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