Saturday, June 25, 2011

Good to be God by Tibor Fischer

Good to be God is the latest novel of Tibor Fischer, one of my favourite authors, a British novelist and short story writer of Hungarian origin. The main character is Tyndale a broke, middle aged lighting bulbs salesman who after meeting again his childhood pal Nelson who is in the handcuffs business and travels often, decides to fly to Miami, Florida instead of his friend. After spending time and having fun in a Miami hotel with policemen who are there for some symposium he decides to stay for good and empties his friend's company credit card. Tyndale wants to impersonate God, to fool those who deserve it and take some of their money and to get rich. This novel is full of colourful characters like Sixto the Cuban landlord and the boss of Tyndale, who works for him as a drug dealer, Napalm the ugly but friendly and ungrateful roommate, Dishonest Dave the Haitian shopowner who attracts mugging and who's motto is "We fully intend to rip you off", DJ Gamay and DJ Muscat who are replaced as DJ-s by a monkey and who think that Tyndale can get them into a multinational crime organisation, Hierophant the reverend of the Church of Heavily Armed Christ and former marine whose congregation consist  of less then a dozen of members. Here at the  Church of Heavily Armed Christ Tyndale becomes the right hand of Hierophant and  replaces him when the marine reverend has to tend to his terminally ill mother. Tyndale by trying to become a deity tries to fix the problem of the parish members from cats gone astray to saving a girl from his abusive lover. In fact by trying to become God, Tyndale tries to do and does  good things even if it's in an unorthodox way. The title of the novel could have been Good to be Good because even if some of the motives of Tyndale are selfish or wrong, he recognizes the goodness in folks and wants to help them doing the good thing. This is true in the case of Gulin, the Turkish immigrant woman, but also when he sees that the Fixico sisters are brainwashing people with their prosperity religion and works against them and topples them not even taking the credit for it. The novel ends in an optimist way: Tyndale is not rich as he expected in the beginnings, but gets a second chance in life by the side of Gulin.
This is not the best novel of Tibor Fischer like Thought Gang or Under the Frog , but I have liked it. It's funny, of black humor, though even so you can find lines which hold truth on religion, society and life. I recommend reading it. Tibor Fischer's novels remind me in a slight way of  Rejtő Jenő black humored writings and underworld characters.
" I had some dealings with the union reps at work and they were all, almost without exception, the most greedy, self centered and vile types you were likely to come across. You should see their expenses. Beware talk of brotherhood and justice. Whereas those, like the Hierophant who trumpet the stand-on-your-own-to-feet  creed are the most likely to give you a hand..."
Support Tibor Fischer´s next book at - crowd funded publishing!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

It has been a long time since I have wrote a review about a book I have read. I will start this year with The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. The novel starts with the 1714  fall of  San Luis Rey Bridge in Lima, Peru by which a dozen of people lost their life. This event makes friar Juníper to research the lifes of the victims in order to find a clue giving away the godly reason behind their tragedy. Were they not good enough, religous and so on? But the research of the friar does not tell their true secrets, passions and love. The writer tries to narrate this hidden story. So we read about a nobel women writing in vain passionate letters to her daughter in Spain who does not love her back and she can never let go any controll over her. Her letters did not conquer the heart of her daughter but  became a masterpiece of the Spanish literature. We read about the twins Manuel and Esteban whose brotherly love is broken by the love felt towards a woman. We read about the childish uncle Pío and  Camilla who we can call his adopted daughter. Juníper could not find the true answer.
His diligence is considered heresy by the Church and ends his life burned on the stake.
What is behind chance, death? One thing is sure death washes all away even any memory relating to us.
One thing is sure we are all going to die. But one who loves does not require to be remembered.

Why did I choose to read this book? Because I gave away this book in my childhood.

One wikipedia about The Bridge of San Luis

"The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927) tells the story of several unrelated people who happen to be on a bridge in Peru when it collapses, killing them. Philosophically, the book explores the problem of evil, or the question, of why unfortunate events occur to people who seem “innocent” or "undeserving". It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928, and in 1998 it was selected by the editorial board of the American Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of the twentieth century. The book was quoted by British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the memorial service for victims of the September 11 attacks in 2001. Since then its popularity has grown enormously. The book is the progenitor of the modern disaster epic in literature and film-making, where a single disaster intertwines the victims, whose lives are then explored by means of flashbacks to events before the disaster."