It all gets wilder from there. The subsequent gospels enrich and expand the basic narrative of Peter Star, “Not Son of God and Not Son of Man,” inviting readers to peel back the layers of myth, tradition, and reverence to try to spot the actual human events at their core. En route to Star’s inevitable crucifixion, and the end pf what the gospel authors call “The Hard Days,” the satire is playful and biting: “But I tell you to have sex with your enemies, do favors for those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and embrace your abusers,” Star instructs his throng.
Most engaging among the playful provocations is the introduction, in the Book of Paul, of “Lady Madonna,” a figure who seamlessly ties together the biblical and the Beatle-y—and also suggests Priscilla Presley, too. The epic length, proudly archaic prose, and daring conceit means the Star story isn’t for everyone, but readers on its wavelength will find pleasure, insight, laughs, and astonishment.
Takeaway: This astonishing novel presents the gospels of a rock savior, in allusive biblical style.
Great for fans of: WIll Self’s The Book of Dave, Joseph Heller’s God Knows.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A