The Red Adam

Mark Mirsky, Author Sun & Moon $10.95 (165p) ISBN 978-0-940650-92-3
This highly concentrated, evocative exploration of ancient religious beliefs about demonism is a novel written in the form of a ``discovered'' document--purportedly a text secreted in a Massachusetts library sometime in the 1940s. Its ostensible protagonist is a Jewish settler named Job Schwartz whose black magic causes chaos in his New England community, ``a formerly wealthy milltown gone to seed.'' Mirsky reveals the narrative's events in brief flurries of prose, using quotations--most effectively from the 18th-century theologian Jonathan Edwards--both to propel the plot and to trace centuries of superstition ranging from witch-hunt hysteria to ancient beliefs about the golem (on which the title character is a variation) into a single story. Although the technique is strong in early chapters, the short novel eventually stumbles under the weight of its various philosophic conceits. Mirsky's desire to imbue the text with the deliberate quality of a documentary eventually dulls the reader's interest in the characters and their conflicts. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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