Monday, May 7, 2007

The Testament of Gideon Mack

Gideon Mack is a minister in the Church of Scotland, despite the fact he hasn't believed in God since childhood. Nonetheless, he follows in his austere father's footsteps and is stationed in the small Scottish village of Monimaskit. Though lacking in faith, he tends to his parish and runs marathons for charity. His closest acquaintances, college friends John and Elsie Moffat; his late wife, Jenny; and town elder Catherine Craigie are atheists, too. On a run one day, he discovers a standing stone that wasn't there before and he starts to question everything. Then he falls into a gorge and is not discovered for three days. Gideon believes he was rescued by the devil. When he tries to tell this story, he is dismissed as a madman. This book raised a lot of questions for me about the nature of faith and the things we do and do not choose to believe, as well as the sometimes fine line between faith and insanity. John Robertson's novel was long-listed for the Booker Prize.

2 comments:

Shuttsie said...

Given how bad some Booker's are maybe being long rather than shortlisted is a compliment (I'm looking at you, Posession!)

angstrat said...

I've liked some stuff that's shown up on the long and shortlists but most of the recent winners have no appeal for me (and I didn't pick Gideon Mack up because of the Booker). I wasn't wowed by Possession but liked it OK though I skipped over the poetry.