James Hogg - The private memoirs and confessions of a justified sinner

This is a difficult book to get through with its slow, dry text. It's divided up into three parts, in which part two makes up for most of the fun. But parts one and three are necessary and make part two possible, so to say. This structure, relying on unreliable editors and narrators is quite intriguing though. And if the narrative moves somewhat sulkily, the content makes up for it. Its plot about a (Calvinist) religious fanatic egged on to murder in the name of God by a devil figure shows nice parallels both with Faust (or something like The Mask or Star Wars) and with Muslim terrorists nowadays. It makes the book seem far ahead of its time and quite redeems all of its lesser qualities. Fascinating.

15 October 2008



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