fumbling through this book

I finished reading the rather short Bay of Souls by Robert Stone, last week Friday.

I don’t really know what to say about this book. There were moments that I really liked it; there were moments that I really disliked it.

Never having been scuba diving, I do think it has one of the most well-written scuba diving passages that I have ever read. Amazing. Made it out to be a very intense experience and then carried the scuba diving metaphor over into a later part of the book in a very compelling way… Scuba diving versus the oppressive weight of a voodoo ceremony: drumming, drugs, Papa Legba, Baron Samedhi and the whole lot.

I thought that the extramarital affair around which the whole book circled was a bit tired. Which was unfortunate. College prof with wife and kid, etc., in Minnesota(?), meets new colleague who intrigues, etc. Yadda yadda, blah blah. Unfortunate, I say, because the affair is the vehicle which drives the action of the story which is, for the most, rather interesting.

An interview with Robert Stone here, discusses some of this religion stuff that i, over at squub, and I have been sort of chatting about off and on for a little bit now.

Especially this bit:

RS: I am not a believer in God. I have been a believer in God. I am obsessed with the absence of God. I believe in that phrase from Pascal, that says?I can’t remember where I used it?I think it’s in Damascus Gate, where he reads somewhere in Pascal, “Everything on Earth gives a sign of the divine presence. Everywhere we look there seems to be evidence of it. And it never yields itself to our discovery. And yet it seems to be everywhere.”…. I do admit that faith is not what you believe, it’s not about believing in a body of doctrine. Faith is something else. Well, I don’t have the body of doctrine. But I don’t have the faith either. Which is an insistence that somehow that things are all right and as they should be. I don’t have that.

(One reason I always link to the amazon thingy as well is that I’ve been using this thing called allconsuming to keep track of the books I’ve read. That’s also how they display all pretty like over there on the left.)

2 thoughts on “fumbling through this book”

  1. Never read that guy myself… have you read any of his others? I’m curious, but your lukewarm reaction to the one here doesn’t have me rushing to the store.

  2. I haven’t read any of his others. (And can’t remember why I decided to read it originally. I come across a book online and then pop over to my local lib’s website and put it in a request for my local branch. Sometimes it’s months before a book comes in and sometimes I just can’t remember.)

    I wouldn’t tell anyone to rush out and read this book. There are others who do the academia and/or voodoo thing better. (Not academia, but voodoo: Russell Banks Continental Drift for example)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *