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4 out of 4 stars
Review by ananya92
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A passionate fan of Nietzsche, Zarathustra II believes that God has disappeared and whiles away his time preaching the same to others. The Reverend, on the other hand, staunchly follows the Bible, which has earned him many followers, but driven away his wife and son. The situation worsens when Zarathustra II names Nicholas, the Reverend’s son, as his first apostle. To control the situation, the Reverend issues a public challenge and a theological confrontation is about to take place on the day of the festival. The same date is predicted as the day when a hurricane will move over the city. Who will succeed in weathering the storm, literally?
I should point out beforehand that this book, in my opinion, is meant for a niche audience, because some of the content might not appeal to everyone (might even offend some). Also, this book is not so much about the plot, or even about the characters, but more about what philosophy these characters endorse or what are the beliefs they stand for. That said, I immensely enjoyed reading this book, and one of the reasons, surprisingly, was Nietzsche (I never really liked him in school), and other intellectuals mentioned in this novel.
'It is a cultivated illusion that provides some comfort in an often uncomfortable existence.' This, I think, captures the essence of this novel, which has been immensely enriched with copious amount of research from various books and theories. It might have turned out to be dry read, with so many intellectuals quoted and explained, but with simple yet well-defined characters, with their own tale to tell, this novel kept me engaged till the end.
This is a first person narrative, in Nicholas’ voice, which is a clever move, because Nicholas’ reading list was severely restricted by his father, and consequently Zarathustra’s arrival in his life, makes him question the beliefs deeply ingrained in him since childhood. The other characters also add depth to the novel, like how Madeline (the Reverend’s wife) stopped going to the church because he made God so difficult for her.
Despite the serious confrontation between blind faith and the spirit of inquiry, there is an overall element of hilarity in the plot, thanks to the eccentric, and sometimes outrageous characters. The author’s description of New Orleans with its peculiarities is also interesting. Covering multiple themes from LGBT rights to gender equality to secularism to media sensationalism, the author weaves a plot that has riveting scenes and poses more questions than it answers. Readers, who enjoy an entertaining, thought provoking read, should definitely check this one out. This is one of the most enlightening books I’ve come across in a long time, and it surely deserves 4 out of 4 stars.
Advancing on Chaos
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