The Society of Judas $21.21 Save:$3.00(15%)
  • ISBN-13: 9781987062588
  • Publisher: Kim Idynne
  • Publication date: 05/20/2013
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 152,052
  • Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.85(d)
  • The Society of Judas (a novel by author Charles Theodore Murr) takes up the question of betrayal’s psychological effect not on the betrayer but on the betrayed. What is it like for a fundamentally good man to be betrayed by someone he trusts implicitly? Worse, by a group of his former friends working together, each for his/her own selfish ends? “God help you when a friend sets out to betray you,” a mentor tells Charlie Maurer at the beginning of The Society of Judas, “Your enemies can’t betray you, Charlie, only a friend can betray – but when friends collaborate for a betrayal…who could emerge victorious against…a whole society of Judas’?” Set in the Italian capital, central Mexico and New York, New York, during the 1970’s and 80’s, there is much to the byzantine plot of this book. Though not for the faint of heart, the novel contains a great deal of humor. (One particularly feckless bishop, for example, is “that nothing, made flesh,” and a daffy mother general from Rimini, who fancies herself the recipient of divine revelations “not only speaks in tongues” but “obviously thinks in tongues as well”.) On the whole, The Society of Judas is difficult to categorize. As the story of a good but flawed man in the priesthood working out his salvation with fear and trembling in Mexico, the book is reminiscent of Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory. In its assemblage of utterly bizarre characters and insane plot twists, it is reminiscent of John Kennedy Toole’s The Confederacy of Dunces. It is also a roman à clef, a score-settling tell-all exposé of human iniquity that is clearly meant to name names. Above all, however, it is the story of one man’s life, told in the form of a novel but lacking the artificial unity a fictional account can achieve, and so it partakes of the strangeness and inscrutability that every human life displays. Charlie Mauer, along with the reader, wonders why God in His providence allowed such terrible and wonderful things to happen to him. In this last aspect The Society of Judas recalls an episode from The Divine Comedy. In the heavens of Saturn, Saint Peter Damian comes forward to greet the pilgrim Dante, and Dante asks him why God chose him, among all the saints in that heaven, to act as spokesman. The saint replies “the most enlightened soul in heaven, the seraph who fixes most his eye on God, could not produce an answer to your question.” Rather, the answer to such questions “is hidden in the depths of the abyss of God’s eternal law, so that the sight of any creature He created is cut off from it.” If such things are unknowable for the blessed in heaven, Peter Damian says, how much more will they elude those of us still down in the moral world. In The Society of Judas one man asks such questions about his own life, and in finally accepting that no answers are forthcoming from God, he finds an answer all the same. Like Job at catastrophe’s end, he is left not with questions about the whys and wherefores of God but with God’s questions to him about himself. Like Job, he comes to see that the questions of God are far more satiating than the answers of men.

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