Here's one of the most bizarre fiction books ever written: unconventional in structure & in form as well as in premise. I say "fiction book" rather than "novel," because the chapters of How Like a God are interwoven with segments of a seemingly unrelated short story, & the threads unite only in the terrifying conclusion. The short story, printed entirely in italicHere's one of the most bizarre fiction books ever written: unconventional in structure & in form as well as in premise. I say "fiction book" rather than "novel," because the chapters of How Like a God are interwoven with segments of a seemingly unrelated short story, & the threads unite only in the terrifying conclusion. The short story, printed entirely in italics but otherwise told in conventional 3rd-person narration, is divided into segments lettered A thru Q. These reveal the thoughts of one Mr. Lewis as he ascends a staircase with a pistol in his coat pocket, intending to kill someone in an upstairs room. Lewis's sense of impending doom raises the possibility that perhaps his intent is not murder but rather suicide, or perhaps both. Alternating between these brief cliffhanger segments are the long chapters I thru XVI of a novel, in 2nd-person narration. You are William Barton Sidney. Your entire existence, from childhood thru sexual awakening into prosperous middle age, is recounted in these pages. Your life is respectable, normal, prosaic. Yet nobody suspects that you are aware of multiple personalities within your body, & that your head is full of voices. The final segment Q is a chilling climax, revealing Lewis's intended prey (human in visage only), the true relationship between Lewis & Sidney, & the full significance of the novel's title (a quote from Hamlet). Can it be coincidence that Brenda Clough's 1997 SF novel How Like a God features a telepathic protagonist also named Lewis?—F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre...
|Title||:||How Like a God|
|Number of Pages||:||251 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
How Like a God Reviews
It's strange reading a Rex Stout book that has nothing to do with detectives or mysteries. 'How Like a God' is touted on the cover as an "extraordinarily brilliant novel about a sexual psychotic - his strange marriage, abnormal obsessions and dark desires". It is actually an account of Bill Sidney, from his school days to mid-life and his awkward relationships with women. He is fixated on elder sister Jane, has an affair with Sunday-school teacher Mrs Davis, falls in love with country-girl Lucy, but instead marries rich but unfaithful Erma, and finds a mistress in gamine Millicent. The book alternates between a third-person segment that implies murderous intent and the main second-person narrative and jumps back and forth in time. In my mind it's the stylistic precursor to Bright Lights Big City crossed with the confused psychotic tone of American Psycho. I'm not sure what Stout was trying to achieve, but it is too well-written and the thoughts too pedestrian for the protagonist to be truly nutty but the plot is too little developed to pique a reader's interest. Worth checking out as an oddity, not so much as a reading experience.
At the end of college I got involved with Janny, one of the best-read persons I'd ever met. I went on to graduate studies in New York city, she followed, transferring to Barnard College a semester later. For over two years the two of us lived with our respective libraries in a one room single in Union Theological Seminary's Hastings Hall. Janny was a mystery fan like I was a science fiction fan. Attempting to get me, a psych major, interested, she handed over Stout's How Like a God, a psychological mystery. I read at over a night or two between rounds as a campus security guard. Being mostly written in the second person, the experience of reading it was weirdly impressive, evocative of midnight paranoias.