cover image Only Begotten Daughter

Only Begotten Daughter

James Morrow. William Morrow & Company, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-05284-3

Highly imaginative , funny and irreverent, this off-beat fantasy recounts the life, death and rebirth of Julie Katz, daughter of God. In 1974, Murray Jacob Katz, a celibate Jewish recluse living in Atlantic City, N.J., gives birth to a child by inverse parthenogenesis at the Preservation Institute. He steals the fetus shortly before the place is blown up by the followers of the pastor of the First Ocean City Church of Saint John's Vision, the Reverend Billy Milk, who is preparing for the Second Coming by establishing the criteria described in Revelations. As Julie grows up, searching for her mother (God), she early demonstrates miraculous powers. Fearful, Murray forbids her to perform further miracles. Meanwhile, the Devil tries to whip up Milk and his followers for a religious crusade. Later, he takes Julie as an honored guest to Hell, where she meets her brother Jesus succoring the sinners. After being stripped of her powers, she returns to the world in the year 2012, when Milk has set up New Jersey as a theocracy and her disciples have created an underground religion. Morrow ( This Is the Way the World Ends ) has penned a lively, ironic, often raunchy gospel. ( Feb. )