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The Book Against God, abbreviated B.A.G., is the burden of Thomas Bunting, the protagonist of James Wood’s novel, a pilgrim in a holding pattern, between an unfinished thesis and a finished marriage, and an unfinished struggle with his father. Thomas, no longer doubting, no longer swinging away, cannot handle the wiliness of faith, but neither can he escape its pull. Well written and full of charm, though perhaps a little too on the nose, a little too much authorial signaling, it is nonetheless a striking story; a modern (and I only mean that in a slightly derogatory sense) Dostoyevskian novel writ in the voice of Ivan Karamazov, but a story that, fittingly, doesn’t end leaving the reader up in the air, between heaven and earth, to ponder his final fate.

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