Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tosca Lee's Demon ~ Reviewed

Demon : A Memoir
Tosca Lee
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Navpress Publishing Group (June 8, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1600061230
ISBN-13: 978-1600061233


Clay has a problem. He’s being stalked, first by a suave, Mediterranean gentleman, then by an attractive young woman, then by a young punk-looking guy. Trouble is, all these people are the same being—and it’s not human. The entity stalking Clay claims to be a demon named Lucian, and he wants something. He commands Clay—a failed novelist and an editor at a small publishing house—to write his memoirs and publish them. He also promises Clay that the venture will bring him great financial reward.

At first Clay refuses. Hence the stalking. Eventually, however, Clay’s fear turns to obsession. He’s fascinated by the demon’s tale of his start as an angel of God, of Lucifer’s (and his own) fall from Paradise and their subsequent war against God’s favorites, mankind. Clay also sees a chance to salvage his career and his self-esteem by publishing the demonic biography, and the lure of fame and fortune seduces him. Clay becomes so frenzied that, if Lucian doesn’t appear for some time, he panics and tries to summon the demon.

Clay is one of those lukewarm people who thinks he knows the Bible and is a “good” person, but has trouble swallowing fantastic religious tales like people rising from the dead. Lucian’s story disturbs his previous notions, yet he can’t seem to accept it. He’s strangely attracted to the demon, but at the same time suspects that Lucian caused the death of a young woman as they were walking together. The reader also begins to see that Lucian is feeding Clay subtle lies in with the truth, bringing about Clay’s downhill slide in his work, health, and spirit.

The novel alternates between Clay’s struggles and Lucian’s story, a sort of sweeping overview of Creation, Fall, and most importantly, the redemption provided by God’s sending his Son. Author Tosca Lee, through Lucian, provides an unusual view of a familiar story. First comes the portrait of Lucifer and his cohorts—shining, powerful creatures who (at least according to Lucian) fall into pride and sin only one time. And yet, God separates himself from them forever. Then come the “mud creatures,” as he calls Adam and Eve and their progeny. To Lucian, they are pitiful and weak, constantly sinful and rebellious. And yet, God loves them, waits for them, courts them—and eventually comes down to wallow in the mud, in the flesh, with them. Lucian is astounded. Why does God love these creatures so? Why does he not give up on them as he did on the fallen angels?

Lee’s prose is powerful and beautiful. Her imagery of Eden, of Paradise and angels and Elohim, filled me with awe and helped me to see things in a new light. They also helped me appreciate my salvation anew.

I also appreciated that the author did not provide the pat, simple ending I expected. The story takes some complex directions and challenges the reader to think as well as feel.

Reviewed by Robin Johns Grant

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