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on April 9, 2002
I read with interest -- and a chuckle -- the complaints of some reviewers about the 'humor' in this novel. I found humor in abundance within its pages -- not the 'belly-laugh' sort of humor that we Americans have come to expect from TV sitcoms and films, but the 'wry smile' sort of humor that is more touching and subtle. Cosse's writing is both humorous and meaningful -- but there is a lot more to this little book than humor.
Interestingly enough, the book I read just prior to picking up this novel was Simon Mawer's THE GOSPEL OF JUDAS, in which a priest deals with the discovery of an ancient scroll that has the potential to destroy his church, the message within being one that repudiates all that Christianity has stood upon for nearly two thousand years. In A CORNER OF THE VEIL, the opposite occurs -- a manuscript is received by the Casuist order in France that proves, after hundreds of years and innumerable attempts by philosophers and thinkers, the irruftable existence of God.
It would seem that the church would look upon such a find as a victory of sorts -- everything they have been espousing over their history has been verified on paper, in terms that anyone can understand. And while it is true that those who read the proof -- spiritual and secular people alike -- are touched by it on the deepest possible level and reduced to tears of joy, the proof brings sheer terror and panic to the hierarchy of the church and state. Grim predictions are made that, if the proof is made public, it will mean the end of society as we know it, chaos, the end of the world.
The struggles and machinations the proof sets into motion are both humorous and thought-provoking. Without giving away any more of the story, I will simply say that I felt the message to be one, not of revelation, but of affirmation. The novel is not anti-religious in any form or fashion that I can see -- nor is it indoctrinarial in the least. I found it to be intelligently conceived and written, a very compelling and moving work -- one which I can recommend heartily.
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on May 19, 2001
Cossé's essay-length book has a provocative premise: How would proof of God's existence effect a secular modern government and its keepers? While the writing is swift and crisp, I was disappointed by the hasty, too-neat ending. (The concluding pages read as if the author had run out of steam, or interest.) Still, Cossé deserves credit for staging her intriguing scenario in a credible fictional landscape. The opening pages, when one of the characters walks across Paris at dawn, observing an awaking urban world he is convinced will be transformed by the divine good news, are especially strong and evocative--much more so than the later unfolding of the plot.
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on April 13, 2000
This is a beautifully translated work. It reads as if it hadbeen written in English, and Linda Asher is to be commended for herseamless rendition from one language to the other. Her judgment in choosing what to bring to the English language, however, is quite faulty.
It is an awful little book. Its single theme (God's revelation of His existence) becomes a shaggy dog story unworthy of much more than (may be) a couple of pages. Somehow the book manages to appear to have 271 pages, but don't be fooled: its pages are the short size (4.5 x 7.25 inches) often used in paperbacks; 43 of these pages (16%) contain only the day of the week and the time of day: "Monday, 8:32 P.M." for example. In addition it has a foreword and a postface. Thus the book is stretched to give it a certain heft it ill deserves. Its content, a single joke repeated over and over, makes for dismal entertainment. This is a watered down confection lacking in texture, nutrition or flavor. Return it to the kitchen, if possible. Then try another restaurant.
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on May 26, 1999
The flyleaf of this book grabbed me and wouldn't let go: this story revolves around a document that irrefutably, absolsutely proves the existence of (a male, Christian) God. How could I resist? How could any of us?
The novel begins with a bang but ends with a whimper. What I found most interesting was how the author sketched the characters' reactions to this proof after they've read the document. The president of France, for example, dissolves into a state of gentle radiance (that others judge as insanity) and leaves his post to tend to his beloved wife and roses. Most of the characters are male and represent Church and State...and, sure enough, they end up suppressing the evidence. Ultimately, then, there are no surprises in this book, and I was very disappointed that a female author chose to script *all* characters, save one man's sister (a minor voice), as male. "Churchianity" prevails yet again.
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on May 8, 1999
While cosse delves deeply into THE problem of theology she skims the surface in a pleasant, albeit unfulfilling look at how the proof would effect believers and non-believers alike. The highlight is the reaction of those who have read the proof. While some of her insights are satirical without being trivial, those expecting an exploration of powerful theological ideas will surely be disappointed.
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on June 21, 1999
I was so excited by the reviews out about this book. The idea was great but the story fell right on its face. There were so many people but I can not remember any of them. I didn't expect to see proof of GOD but change a few words and this could be about the Easter Bunny. Rich Romeo
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on May 4, 1999
When you think about it, it had to happen ... but who would of "thunk". Delightful characters, wonderful prose, I couldn't put it down. Run, don't walk, to your favorite independent book store, buy this book, hunker down, and have fun!
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on October 21, 1999
This is your basic French satire, starting from a simple point and then spiraling off into many thoughtful directions. A very, very funny book that also makes you think about the "what if" question. A wonderful exercise for the brain.
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on August 4, 1999
The premise of the book seemed to start well, but fizzle later. A similiar theme on the issue of God's existence was far better accomplished in the novel LUMINOUS by Peter Quest. At least his novel had a sensational climax.
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on September 6, 1999
Being French, I read the book in its original language. I am very glad to discover that my American friends will be able to read this excellent book, full of surprises, with a very fine sense of humor and very well written.
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