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The Afterword: A Novel [Hardcover]

Mike Bryan
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 18 2003
The Afterword is the afterword to a best-selling novel that doesn’t exist. It is a stunning, deliriously original work of fiction about the nature of faith in the modern world.

Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Bryan's sly, minimalist debut is written in the form of an Afterword to his bestselling novel, The Deity Next Door. The catch is that The Deity Next Door does not exist. The fictional essay opens with Bryan basking in his record-breaking sales as he answers his fans' questions about the novel. As he describes his creative process, he gradually reveals the story of The Deity Next Door, which follows a modern-day American messiah named Blaine, a secular computer programmer in New York City who is astounded to discover that he has divine powers ranging from making objects levitate to healing his cancer-stricken son. Bryan explains the various theological questions he wrestled with as he wrote, digressing frequently to discuss his relationship with a group of evangelicals at a Dallas Bible college who fueled his interest in Christian spirituality. He also probes the literary problems of writing about a messiah ("In the gospels, we don't really know Jesus as a fully rounded man.... How does Blaine feel? What's his interior life really like?") and discusses the reactions of his agent and editor. In spite of the arch, metafictional conceit, Bryan takes his subjects seriously; this is less a sendup of the publishing world than a high-toned meditation on Christian theology, spirituality and the writing life. The lively, concise book is cleverly executed and poses some provocative questions. Yet some readers may be put off by the self-important tone. There's something a bit ludicrous about a writer who compares the writing of his bestseller to the creation of the Bible, and Bryan's earnest approach suggests we're meant to take the portentous scribe seriously.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A prophetic debut? This clever work gives the back story of a best seller that never was called The Deity Next Door. With a nine-city author tour.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
This book is an innovative and provocative addition to modern literature. The format is entirely creative. I am sure that not many have tried to write an afterword for a book that doesn't exist. Oddly, this approach resembles a "behind the music" or "storytellers" format, and is one that gives us a feeling that we are being let in on the best secrets of an alledgedly succesful novel. The metafictive approach will be of special interest to writers. I also found the commentary on deleted or excluded scenes to be a great tongue-in-cheek twist. As far as the religious aspects are concerned, this book takes a long hard look at how our society would deal with a messiah. Bryan does well to anticipate both the thoughts of sceptics and believers, while really never casting his own hat into the ring on either side. I read this after reading "The Life of Pi" and "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff". I couldn't have asked for a more fitting conclusion to this great summer reading trifecta.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining theology April 7 2003
Format:Hardcover
This book is an afterword to an imaginary book called The Deity Next Door. It's really a meditation on Christology and writing a book. If that sounds weird, it isn't. Bryan's writing is witty and clever, and very thoughtful. Who knew theology could be so much fun!?
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1.0 out of 5 stars Should Do Well in Northern California July 1 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Really a silly little book with much psychobabble and religious pedantry
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great what if/how to/what the heck! or just fun. June 9 2003
By Sean Wheeler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is an innovative and provocative addition to modern literature. The format is entirely creative. I am sure that not many have tried to write an afterword for a book that doesn't exist. Oddly, this approach resembles a "behind the music" or "storytellers" format, and is one that gives us a feeling that we are being let in on the best secrets of an alledgedly succesful novel. The metafictive approach will be of special interest to writers. I also found the commentary on deleted or excluded scenes to be a great tongue-in-cheek twist. As far as the religious aspects are concerned, this book takes a long hard look at how our society would deal with a messiah. Bryan does well to anticipate both the thoughts of sceptics and believers, while really never casting his own hat into the ring on either side. I read this after reading "The Life of Pi" and "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff". I couldn't have asked for a more fitting conclusion to this great summer reading trifecta.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining theology April 7 2003
By Irene M. Piekarski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is an afterword to an imaginary book called The Deity Next Door. It's really a meditation on Christology and writing a book. If that sounds weird, it isn't. Bryan's writing is witty and clever, and very thoughtful. Who knew theology could be so much fun!?
3.0 out of 5 stars A clever little book May 27 2011
By Marina Parisinou - Published on Amazon.com
A clever little book written in the guise of an afterword to a book that doesn't really exist. In this innovative format, the author discusses theological questions and the creative process as well as society in general.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The author's biblical knowledge is skin-deep Oct. 4 2009
By J. Cai - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The author knows a little bit of a lot of topics about Christianity. But his biblical and theological knowledge is very superficial. This is reflected by some of the obvious errors he made in the book. For example, he misplaces the scene in John 8:2-11 to be "at the Mount of Olives". He read John 8:1 but didn't read John 8:2 which clearly says it happens in the temple. The Mount of Olives is not far away, but it's a different place. Another example is that he says the Holy Spirit is only referenced 17 times in the New Testament but none in the Old. You don't have to be a bible scholar to know that this is simply not true.

The author also misrepresents other people's views. For example, when he talks about the 10 plagues in Exodus, he says that Ryrie Study Bible "can only acknowledge the natural causes for the plagues". I don't think Ryrie will agree with this claim. In fact, Ryrie's comment on Exodus 7:17 apparently rebukes those who try to find a naturalistic cause and then clearly states: "...this was a supernatural judgement".

There are times the author does not know or make distinction between his own opinion/knowledge and the fact/truth. For example, he says that it's always the Catholics who perform the miracles, but not Protestants. This is simply not true. He may say he didn't know of any miracles performed by any Protestant. But to claim that no miracles (e.g. cure the sick, cast the demons etc.) have ever been performed by Protestants is clearly beyond his limited knowledge and beyond his proof. This also shows how little he knows about Protestant churches in the past and today.
2 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Should Do Well in Northern California July 1 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Really a silly little book with much psychobabble and religious pedantry
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