cover image The World Is a Narrow Bridge

The World Is a Narrow Bridge

Aaron Thier. Bloomsbury, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-63557-141-7

Thier (Mr. Eternity) again tackles fundamental human questions in this latter-day allegory of biblical prophecy. Murphy and Eva ponder the question of whether to conceive a child in a country plagued by toxic politics and a world threatened with environmental disaster—and on their tenuous freelance salaries, to boot. Devoted secular humanists, the young couple are more than a little bemused when Yahweh appears to Eva and demands that she testify about his existence. Yahweh’s insistence, however, may be just the kick in the pants they need, and soon they shake off their Miami torpor, quit their jobs, and travel the country. Eva’s initial hesitation gives way to full-on religious ecstasy—prompted in no small part by the $100 million Yahweh deposits in their checking account. The novel’s more pointedly comic first half, filled with winking commentaries on contemporary foibles (the couple grows collards in the back seat rather than stoop to eating road food), gives way to a broader canvas that is both more cynical and, in its final pages, resignedly hopeful. Though attempts to elevate the novel above the satirical don’t always hit the mark, Thier gives readers plenty to ponder, from the petulance and cruelty of the Old Testament God to the wisdom or futility of accepting—and even loving—a permanently imperfect world. (July)