Angel Archer is married to Jeff Archer, a perpetual student at UC Berkeley. Angel supports them working at a law office and candle shop. His father is an Episcopal Bishop who questions everything about his faith. His lover and assistant is Kirsten Lundberg. Her younger brother is alternately an obsessed auto mechanic and a schizophrenic committed to an asylum.
Timothy Archer begins to question his theology with the discovery of the Zadokite Documents which contain the central teachings of Jesus but predate Jesus by a century or more. This leads to several failures of faith, three suicides, and two resurrections. The only survivor is Angel Archer, a rationalist and agnostic, as if to say faith with intelligence leads to anxiety and misery.
Part of the challenge many of these characters face is a belief in absolute truth and values.
Tim said, “I would like Janis Joplin to sing Grace.”Dick forsees “fake news.”
“She died in 1970,” I said.
“Then whom do you recommend in her place?” Tim asked.
“I think what she’s trying to say,” Kirsten said, “is that no one will ever take Joplin’s place.”
“But it is noise posing as signal so you do not even recognize it as noise. The intelligence agency call it disinformation.”This is my favorite quote:
It strikes me as semi-meaningless to say, "You are only as old as you feel" because, in point of fact, age and illness are going to win out, and this stupid statement only resonates with people in good health who have not undergone...traumas.One theme of this book is the danger of education.
That is the trouble with education, I realized; you have been everywhere before, seen everything, vicariously; it has already happened to you.In another hint at the cause of these suicides, the suggestion is that a rush to a conclusion destroys life. Suicide is a rush to the conclusion of life.
What if a symphony orchestra was intent only on reaching the final coda?...The music is in the process, the unfolding; if you hasten it, you destroy it.If you have an interest in theology and philosophy, this book is recommended. The bibliography includes: Dante, Goethe, Plato, Prabhavananda, Tillich, and Virgil, and more obscure writers. Note: As an indication of the times, the reference for Friedrich Schiller is the Encyclopedia Britannica.