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Gospel Prism by [Weaver, Gerald]
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Gospel Prism Kindle Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 284 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Product Description


"Gospel Prism is a remarkable, charming but disturbing novel with an intriguing premise." HAROLD BLOOM, Sterling Professor of Humanities, Yale University "Weaver's Gospel Prism is lit by a literary wit and the intricate knowledge that at the end, as in the beginning, there is the Word." JONATHAN LEVI, Author and Co-founder of GRANTA

Product Description

Alone in his jail cell, Christian receives a midnight visitation from a beautiful stranger. She is the messiah and tasks him with solving a series of spiritual mysteries in order to save his immortal soul...

Atmospheric, dreamlike, unpredictable and wise, Gospel Prism is the dazzling debut novel from Gerald Weaver which brings into focus the relationship between literature, language, truth and religious faith.

'Gospel Prism is a remarkable, charming but disturbing novel with an intriguing premise.' Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities, Yale University

'Weaver's Gospel Prism is lit by a literary wit and the intricate knowledge that at the end, as in the beginning, there is the word.' Jonathan Levi, author and co-founder of GRANTA

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1932 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: London Wall Publishing; 1 edition (May 21 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #137,929 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Received in good time. Not a great read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa27d215c) out of 5 stars 43 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa21497d4) out of 5 stars Great books reimagined Oct. 2 2015
By Ethan Cooper - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The protagonist of GOSPEL PRISM (GP) is named Christian, which, as we all learned in high school, is the name of the everyman character and protagonist of John Bunyan’s never-out-of-print allegory THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS (TPP). Besides sharing a protagonist named Christian, these books also share a narrative structure, with each Christian learning from different phases of his spiritual journey and then telling stories of others whose experiences have a spiritual dimensions as well. In addition, Gerald Weaver, the author of GP, certainly admires the complete title of TPP, since the concluding phrase of that title applies to his own book. That phrase is: “delivered under the similitude of a dream”.

This is not to say that GP is a mere updating of TPP. Instead, GP is 12 connected stories, each platformed on the work of a different great author. These include Cervantes, Shakespeare, Dante, Homer, Whitman, Kafka, and Proust. In each story, Weaver alludes to a plot or sensibility—Christian in a picaresque adventure with a buddy, Christian sees a Jewish man crushed through the reckless love-life of his daughter, Christian visits Hell, Christian obsesses about his memories, and so on. At the same time, these great works are always completely reimagined, with this reader getting deep into many stories before—aha!—making the connection.

In writing these connected stories, Weaver filters these great authors through the predicament of Christian, who is doing time in a minimum security prison in Kentucky. This grim setting—you learn a lot about prison life from this book—both requires and enables Weaver to rethink and riff on the structure and styles of great works. In the book’s final paragraph, Christian’s lawyer explains why such stories apply to you: “No matter which type of prison to which you have been consigned, the search for God… is in your hands…”

There are some stories in this book that are very dark. These include “The Rabbi” (a prison variant of “The Merchant of Venice”) and “The Inmate’s Wife” (all of Kafka). On the other hand, there are several stories that are hilarious, due to Weaver’s playfulness and wit or his talent for loving parodies. In “Mr. Rimmon’s Neighborhoods”, for example, Christian visits the modern equivalent of Dante’s Hell. In one circle (Weaver calls them neighborhoods):

“The inside was some vision out of a story by Jorge Borges. It was a normal-size living room but it contained literally many tens of thousands of people… Many had the same blank look on their faces… Several thousand of them were watching television…The television shows that were being watched were invariably the type known as reality television. There was a buzz of conversations, and these conversations were all about what was on the television or what had been said or what someone was doing…. It was a scene that was at once unbelievable and fantastic and mind-numbing and dull.”

Meanwhile, here’s a bit of parody from the story “Tweet Man”, where Weaver transforms Whitman’s blank verse into Christian’s prose.

“I just had to celebrate myself. I assumed that every atom of me was good as belonging to me again…. The smell of my own breath, the sound of my own voice, the beating of my heart… I was in love with it. After all of what had just happened, it was sublime just to be myself.”

Anyway, enough already… but GOSPEL PRISM is first-rate work and very rewarding. Highly recommended.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1fbfe70) out of 5 stars Gospel Prism is a frighteningly important book May 21 2015
By CJ - Published on
Format: Paperback
Gospel Prism is a frighteningly important book, if you believe that literature is important. But it is also deftly humorous, compellingly suspenseful, spiritually expansive, and triumphantly insightful. It is written in at least one major and several minor keys and can be enjoyed as an absorbing and informative page-turner about the confrontations and small satisfactions of prison life, or as an ironic spiritual detective story, or even as astute literary criticism masquerading as very good fiction. And from there it unfolds even further, to become an indirect investigation into the function of language, the relationship between literature and faith, and a treasure map for where wisdom may be found. Most simply put, it is perhaps the most significant book you could ever have so much fun reading.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1e7cbb8) out of 5 stars Excellent read ! May 23 2015
By David Vollertsen - Published on
Format: Paperback
The scope and breadth of this novel is immense, but that does not mean that it is not a nimble and engaging read. It is. But there is just so much going on at once that it is as thought provoking as it is charming. There is really no way to say what Gospel Prism is “about,” except that it is so many things, a spiritual detective story, sort of a romance, a prison tale, a wisdom chronicle, a satire, a tribute to great writing and a paean to the fading art of reading. Oh, and it is also very funny.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1e7a744) out of 5 stars Multifaceted revelations Oct. 1 2015
By remark47 - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Gospel Prism is an ambitious attempt to explain religion and spirituality in modern terms through a series of revelations and visitations that are basically a heightened experience of everyday life. Although this does wonders to show what glimpses of the divine we can find in the people around us if we are open to it, the message is hindered by excessive verbosity -- 5 similes are used when one would suffice and in fact be clearer because the similes tend to contradict each other.

Christian narrates the book from a minimum security prison, where he is visited by a Halle Berry-esque Jesus figure and goes about exploring many of the tenets of the major faiths as his family members and fellow prisoners experience tests of love, loyalty, honor, character, etc.

An especially entertaining part is the update on Dante's layers of hell mapped to a series of connected suburbs -- however when some of the condemning sins are things like being annoying or watching reality TV, it is a wonder how strict this deity is. Also, the fact that fictional characters and the living appear there is odd. If someone can be alive and in hell at the same time, can they use their fate to change their behavior and earn salvation?

There was also some good potential in the twist that people Christian met had actually already read the book he was writing and its sequel, and acted accordingly to their roles -- however, this device was dropped early on.

Because of the rambling path, I was hoping all along that there would be some bullet point list of the revelations at the end. When I got to that section and saw the voice switched back from Christian to his attorney, I was hoping for some concise and direct prose, but that section was similar and in fact introduced even more characters and tangents.

This is a great topic that is always ripe for helping people find greater awareness and meaning and a novel is a great vehicle for it, but could have used some more editing to bring all of the ideas together to drive the message better.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa214736c) out of 5 stars Intriguing June 8 2015
By Elaine Harvey - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gospel Prism is a multi-textured, multi-layered novel. The characters from Little Philly Ray Sanchez to Big Frank are intriguing, giving the reader more than a glimpse into the complexities of prison life and the redemptive powers within. The narrative is loosely but deftly held together with the visitations of the divine feminine, a mixed race goddess to the inmate-writer. The reader is left longing with the same – a godly-manly sage to illuminate her path. Gospel Prism is a book to read more than once. I loved the down to earth descriptions of prison life on the first reading and appreciated the deeper layers of meaning on the second. The book has exquisite passages, some vivid and some obscure interwoven into a novel that is gritty and real, soulful and surreal.