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The Devil is Dead Hardcover – Apr 1978


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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Strange Wonder July 19 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For genres that pride themselves on "sense of wonder" and "weirdness," science fiction and fantasy have a depressing habit of presenting the same views of the future over and over or using a generic "fantasyland" that is a kind of idiot step-child of Tolkien's Middle Earth.
R. A. Lafferty, however, is breathtakingly different. I can guarantee that you haven't seen the world the way Lafferty does--and you'll enjoy the experience.
THE DEVIL IS DEAD is some of his best writing and most inventive strangeness. Sure, the plot doesn't really (I think) go anywhere, but recursive endings and silly loops are welcome any time they come packaged in this delightful and enlightening a read, with such a motely crew of Lafferty outlaws, drunks, monsters and sailors. The Promantia alone is worth the price of admission. If you want a book that's hilarious, deep, wise, frightening and beautiful, look no further. If you want a conventional plot or tidy resolution, look elsewhere.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A Piece of a Huge Saga May 13 2007
By Lynn Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
To fully appreciate this literally wonderful book, one must realize that it is only one part of a sprawling saga, the "Argo Mythos", revolving around that legendary ship and those who have sailed on it. Within that saga lies the "Devil Is Dead" trilogy, of which this book (confusingly, of the same name) is but the middle part, its predecessor being "Archipelago" and its successor being "More Than Melchisedech" (which, to further complicate score-keeping, was published in three volumes, named "Tales of Chicago", "Tales of Midnight", and "Argo"). Also part of the Argo Mythos is the novel "Dotty", and--arguably--the "Coscuin" tetralogy (of which the final two books are yet unpublished, though the manuscripts exist).

Finnegan, the chief protagonist, is adapted from the character Finn McCool of Irish legend, and parts of the saga derive from that legendarium; he also, however, partakes to some extent of the nature of Jason, the hero we normally associate with the Argo. Further--though one can read the saga without needing to know this--Lafferty has adopted the Argo itself as symbolic of the Roman Catholic Church, of which Lafferty was--to put it mildly--an ardent adherent.

This novel, the saga, the entirety of Lafferty's work: it is all literary genius of a high order, something the casual reader may miss owing to Lafferty's very down-to-earth writing style, which in many ways is almost conversational in tone. But then, the definition of a professional is someone who makes it all look easy.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Exquisite prose-poetry fantasy explores the devil within. Feb. 17 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've read several of Lafferty's books - this is easily the best. Lafferty is an odd genius who went right up to the edge, took a look, a long look, and may have done his writing from the other side. The language is an unpredictable delight. The protagonist ( Finnegan ) wakes up from a mind-blanking drunk and soon finds himself a hand on a mysterious yacht. The people on board are not what they seem, some of them are perhaps not people, and evil erupts soon after they leave each port. And may you too not have the mark just below your left wrist? The mark just barely visible, but waiting to break through the skin? The mark of a older race who were usurped, but hid in a very clever way. Perhaps you should check your wrist again. His introduction alone is worth the price of most books. A good drunk.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Haunting and Underappreciated Book Jan. 23 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first Lafferty book I've read. I haven't been able to get my hands on Archipalego (the first book of the series) or More than Melchizedek (the last book and also a series). So, don't worry that you won't understand what's going on in the story if you start with this book.

This book has stayed with me like a splinter in the mind. I don't know exactly what it is about it, but I find myself thinking about it time and again. Lafferty really deserves to have his major works back in print.

This book is funny, exciting, thought-provoking, and very beautiful. I would recommend it to anyone that likes Vonnegut-esque blending of fantasy and reality. I love those types of tales when they are done right and this one is. I kept my copy as one of the few fiction works I plan to read again.

I've heard people say that the plot is hard to follow, or pointless, but I disagree completely. Besides, books aren't just about a chronological account of events. Books should make you feel and think and maybe even change you a bit and this one does. At least for me.

Hope this helps.


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