I had always thought I’d read all of Garth Ennis’ Preacher, but it turns out I only had the first four volumes before I went off travelling and got interrupted. I don’t know why I never came back to finish it, except that I thought I had. Anyway. I’ve finished it now and Preacher remains a great comic.
The basic story is that Jesse Custer is a hard-drinking ass-kicking southern preacher who has been given the power of the Word of God and he’s off to track God down for abandoning its creation. He has an Irish vampire buddy named Cassidy and the girl he used to steal cars with, Tulip to help him. There’s an organization called the Grail that is trying to stop him to usher in Armageddon on their terms. It’s a pretty big story.
There’s a lot of backtracking in the story to go back and give us more background on characters, which, by the end turns this huge epic into a couple of guys duking it out on a street in San Antonio. It’s blackly funny and very situated in the 1990s, which is kind of fun to read now (because I am apparently becoming nostalgic in my old age).
I can’t remember why I wanted to read The Word of God: or, Holy Writ Rewritten by Thomas M. Disch. I just know that something happened last week when I was working at Reader Services that made me say “I want to read something by Thomas M. Disch,” so I looked him up in our databases, found a book it looked like I might enjoy and then waited for it to be returned to the library. I had never read any of his books before so this one with its promise of the writer declaring himself god and including Philip K. Dick as a major character sounded like it would be up my proverbial alley. And it was. So I’m glad I had this desire whose origin I cannot place.
It’s the kind of novel that is more like a rambling old guy talking about different subjects. While it works well enough here (and when Kurt Vonnegut did it) it’s definitely the kind of thing I wouldn’t want to read from a younger writer. So rest assured that my books won’t be using this device any time soon. (Have I mentioned I’m working on a next book? I am. I’m trying a completely different approach to it: make it good from the beginning, and fuck the word count. We’ll see how it goes.)
Mary from down at the library said she’d started reading this and then when it changed tones she didn’t like it any more so she stopped. Because of this preview of hers I was waiting for the dramatic shift to happen. And waiting and waiting and waiting for about two thirds of the book. It never came. I don’t know what she was talking about in the slightest.