Saving Erasmus: The Tale of a Reluctant Prophet

Steven Cleaver, Author Paraclete Press (MA) $21.95 (182p) ISBN 978-1-55725-498-6
Cross the prophet Job with It's a Wonderful Life and you get this award-winning poet's first-person debut novel, rife with strangeness and humor. When the angel of death climbs out of a broken washing machine and announces that the town of Erasmus is about to be destroyed, Andrew Benoit, a pastor fresh out of seminary, only has a week to save it. Erasmus turns out to be a ""Potterville"" where a Mrs. Primrose Davenport owns almost everything and money is God. A small band of mystics named for movie stars gather at the mystical hot spot The Instant Coffee Cup (run by the wryly named John Luther Zwingli) and hold out hope. But, as Cleaver puns, Erasmus is interested in ""profit,"" not a ""prophet."" What follows is a down-the-rabbit-hole mishmash of images; the Velveteen Rabbit, Homer Simpson, Mae West, and a Knight Templar all contribute their own bits of wisdom for Andrew. There are plenty of nods to Christian history, both overt and subtle, including a scene with several saints who urge Benoit to find ""the truth within"" and give it a voice. But is it the town that really needs saving? Or is it something-or someone-else? This bizarre, whimsical novel will charm and delight some readers and perplex others.
Reviewed on: 04/02/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
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