The Life of God (as Told by Himself) by Franco Ferrucci

The Life of God

I don’t think this is the sort of book that you can read only once. Deeply philosophical and wondrously thought-provoking, I’m not going to pretend that I fully understand and appreciate the themes and messages of the author.

I initially found the narrative of God refreshing, liberating and entertaining. Ferrucci’s God awoke one day in an isolated void of nothingness. Completely alone and unable to remember anything prior to his awakening, God in his infancy is confused and unhappy wandering blind in the darkness of nothingness. Overcome with feelings of abandonment and sorrow he lets out a cry, which exploded into fragments and fell as a solitary, burning ball; God had created the sun.

The first part of this story makes for great reading, and Ferrucci paints clear and detailed visions of beauty in your mind (which is a talent to be admired).

God consciously experiments with creation, and quickly learns that he cannot make and unmake as he pleases; once something has been created it cannot be destroyed and will evolve and develop beyond God’s control. God also learns that his mere emotions and thoughts can unintentionally spark creation, when he discovers that insects appear as the reality and embodiment of his anxieties.

It’s amazing how thought-provoking this book is. And for me, it made me realise the power behind language and words – and I thought to myself how easy it is to believe things, just because you read them. Obviously, I was aware that this book was a work of fiction – completely (yet brilliantly) made up and untrue…but I found myself thinking “What if we’ve got it all wrong?” anyway. I couldn’t help it.

And if it’s so easy to be led by written words, and influenced by them – then it makes you think about the true origins of the Bible. Those who believe the Bible so readily would have believed it whatever it had said – how do we know that it is the truth? What if the Bible was a fictitious tale written a long time ago for the amusement of people who didn’t have anything better to do at the time?

I don’t want to start a religious debate here. I’m just saying, it’s awe-inspiring and scary really, how reading a book can make you question real life – and the meaning behind it. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I love books so much.

However, I have to say that after the initial flood of inspiration and life-pondering, this book starts to drag a little bit. It isn’t the easiest of reads so that probably didn’t help (and that probably is due to the fact that the original language of this book was Italian, and so this is more an adaptation than a true translation), and it jumps very quickly without any seeming connection from character to character, as God ‘possesses'(for want of a better word) the random lives of humans (and animals).

When at first, God encounters Moses and then later Jesus, it is an interesting alternative view of the story we all have learnt from the Bible. But after God has ‘bumped’ into Buddha, Einstein, Mussolini and every other famous character from history it becomes more annoying (and less believable) and you can’t help but feel disappointed by the lack of originality from Ferrucci. Other reviewers have claimed these frequent historical ‘nods’ amusing, but I found it boring after a while; “here we go again”.

The older God gets and the more humans evolve, the more unhappy God gets. He cannot get them to understand who he is and what he wants, and that’s partly because he doesn’t understand himself. All those who encounter God, end up extremely dissatisfied with him, because God is unsure, unconfident and doesn’t have any of ‘the answers’. Towards the end of the book, God understands that the world he has created is imperfect because it is a reflection of his self, and he decides to leave and try again elsewhere.

I have to say the ending wasn’t as strong as I would have expected (from the strong opening) and I felt slightly deflated – but was that the point? I admit that I’m going to have to re-read the book again to grasp a better understanding of it. I’m really interested in hearing other people’s thoughts of this book, please do comment if you’ve read it!

3 Stars (3 / 5)

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