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Book Review of "Demon: A Memoir" by Tosca Lee
This novel is about history from the point of view of a fallen angel. There are really just two main characters: Clay, a Boston editor at a small publishing house, and Lucien, the demon who wants to tell his story. Most of the book consists of long conversations between the two as they eat in restaurants, walk through the city, share a cab, have coffee in a bookstore.
Both characters are well drawn. Clay is the sort of person you might imagine the dark side taking an interest in: a failed writer schlepping away at an editorial job, no close friends, recently abandoned by his wife for another man, struggling with a burgeoning drinking problem. The demon also seems like a real person, his motivations powerful, though murky. In true demonic fashion, Lucien is at first charming and winsome, then once Clay is hooked the demon turns erratic and angry.
Though I’m a Christian, I’m not much of a consumer of Christian books, fiction or nonfiction. I often find the ideas shallow, and the prose clunky. As a Literature major and a lover of the classics, awkward writing wears on my nerves. Its prevalence in the Christian book market just seems unfortunate to me.
This book breaks that mold. The author vividly describes the experiences of a perfect angel, who fell from grace and lost everything. The confusion of the human listening to him is equally believable. You might say they are two lost souls with a lot in common, though the demon’s growing fury makes camaraderie impossible. The bible says very little about Satan and his followers, and that little is far from clear, but the author does a lot with what she has. She includes a section in the back about which scriptures she draws from, and the various theological theories about the devil
I can only read the book as a Christian, and I found its perspective original, with excellent observations about human nature, and interesting commentary on familiar Bible stories.
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