I have always enjoyed a good “What if?”, so I was eager to read David Eagleman’s new book of short stories exploring the possibilities of what happens after death. I was not disappointed. What if god is a married couple and we live as their children after we die? What if… The stories are brief but fascinating.
Right around the time that I read Sum, I happened to be catching up on old episodes of This American Life, including the 2008 episode entitled Poultry Slam in which Shalom Auslander reads a story from his book Beware of God in which God is a chicken. What if you knew something that could make life easier for the people you love? Would you tell them? Would they believe you? Not everyone is comfortable with these kinds of “What if?” questions dealing with god or the afterlife. I remember a bit of controversy when Cynthia Rylant’s book of poetry about God exploring life on earth came out. I loved it, by the way. It was funny, insightful, and poignant. Even to believers willing to stretch their minds open a bit.
I don’t remember a controversy when The Garden by Elsie Aidinoff came out, but I can’t imagine it was without any. Quite frankly, I am surprised it was published as a teen novel considering the scene in which God encourages Adam to force himself upon Eve and a later sex scene involving the serpent. It is now out of print. Perhaps if it had been published as an adult novel, it would have reached an audience that would have appreciated or understood it. Who could say?
The way things happened and the way they’ll turn out remain subjective and fodder for fiction to flesh out (Apologies for the alliteration. I couldn’t resist.) for those who are willing.