Messiah

Andrei Codrescu, Author Simon & Schuster $25 (368p) ISBN 978-0-684-80314-2
Leave it to witty NPR commentator, poet, filmmaker (Road Scholar) and author Codrescu (The Blood Countess) to come up with an energetic if somewhat bloated novel about messianic fervor at the dawn of the next millennium. Felicity LeJeune, an aspiring New Orleans PI in her early 20s, waits at the deathbed of her grandmother. The dying woman, Felicity's last living relative, has long since fallen under the sway of the Rev. Jeremy ""Elvis"" Mullin, an evangelical preacher who collects souls as avidly as he has collected a personal fortune. With the help of the ultra-eccentric Major Notz, a family friend, Felicity decides to take down Mullin's empire--or at least blackmail him into returning the $2.5 million Mullin stole from Felicity. Halfway across the globe, meanwhile, the inhabitants of a Jerusalem convent are startled by the appearance of Andrea, an intensely sexual 16-year-old who may be a Bosnian war orphan or a Jew from Basque country. Whatever her origin, she proceeds to seduce first the convent's nuns, then a group of religious scholars living in the convent and, finally (after an appearance on Gal Gal Hamazal, the Israeli version of Wheel of Fortune), the entire Israeli populace. Through amazingly complex circumstances, Andrea relocates to New Orleans, where she fights for the fate of the postmillennial world alongside Felicity, Major Notz and the resurrected spirits of Nikola Tesla, Ovid and Mark Twain, among others, against Mullin and his hypnotized First Angels Choir. Codrescu's plot is beyond ludicrous, even for a tongue-in-cheek messianic thriller, but his writing is sprightly and his humor dead-on. Here, Codrescu gives the growing obsession with the year 2000 some of the joshing it deserves. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1999
Release date: 02/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
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