Read Towing Jehovah by James K. Morrow Online


God is dead, and Anthony Van Horne must tow the corpse to the Arctic (to preserve Him from sharks and decomposition). En route Van Horne must also contend with ecological guilt, a militant girlfriend, sabotage both natural and spiritual, and greedy hucksters of oil, condoms, and doubtful ideas. Winner of a 1995 World Fantasy Award....

Title : Towing Jehovah
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780156002103
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 371 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Towing Jehovah Reviews

  • Brian Steed
    2019-01-30 19:35

    By the time I’d finished this book, Morrow had become one of my favorite writers. The philosophy he espouses in his writings is perfectly in tune with my own. He’s a champion of rationality, and I wish not only that there were more like him, but that they also had a more visible platform from which to vocalize (I wrote these comments in 2005, at the height of Bush’s America, in which ignorance is equated with integrity, and level-headed, nuanced thinking is considered “elitist” at best and dangerous erosions of our cherished values at worst). Anyway, Morrow’s “Trojan Horse” technique of using humor and absurd imagery to get across his thoughts on religious belief works for me, especially as both sides of his writing are so well done. His religious musings are so fair-minded that he apparently has fans among the clergy, despite the fact that this is essentially atheist literature. This kind of honest assessment of one’s own beliefs is rarely practiced by the believers, who generally would rather fool themselves and others before giving up the ridiculous beliefs they were raised on.

  • Jack
    2019-02-11 15:57

    God is dead, and his two-mile long corpse is floating in the Atlantic, right around the equator. Anthony van Horne, a disgraced oil tanker captain is tapped by the Vatican to haul God's body up to the North Pole, where the grieving angels have prepared a cave for his internment and preservation. Van Horne is joined by a priest with a Kantian bent, a sensual nun, and Cassie Fowler, an atheist marooned after the crash of the Beagle II. Cassie has plans of her own for God's body, which she sees as a direct assault on the ideals of the Enlightenment and feminism and gets her rich boyfriend (the son of a famed condom manufacturer) to enlist a group of hapless WWII re-enactors in a full-fledged assault on the corpse. Meanwhile, realizing that if God is dead then anything is permitted (to borrow from Dostoevsky), the crew is getting more than a little restless.Yes, this book is every bit as insane as it sounds. It is also very funny and surprisingly thoughtful. Recommended for any brave reader.

  • Doc Opp
    2019-02-15 17:54

    I seem to be having bad luck with books recently. This is one more in a series of books with amazing potential that are poorly executed. This book has a fabulous conceit - G-d is dead, and the angels hire a shipping captain to tow the corpse to the burial site. There are all sorts of opportunities to explore the nature of morality, religion, free will, the meaning of life, etc. But while the author does explore those concepts, he's clearly not a philosopher, and there isn't much in the way of novelty, or sophistication in the ideas he explores. The characters are the kind that you don't want to read about. They are arrogant, stupid, extremist, and morally bankrupt. Morrow doesn't spare any group for this treatment - rationalist atheists, the vatican, working class folks, wealthy folk, new agers, traditionalists... the only characters you don't spend the whole book wanting to strangle are minor characters that you don't know enough about to care about and the ship's priest (you only want to strangle him for half of the book)The plot is straightforward enough, but the twists don't really make any sense, and the ending in particular is a terrible disappointment. I won't go into detail and provide spoilers, but suffice it to say there's little to be spoiled. The whole of the book is building to the mystery of how and why G-d died, and the 'answer' to those questions is an unsatisfying cop out.That would be bad enough, but the frustration is compounded by the fact that the book is written crudely. Gratuitous and graphic descriptions of sex and violence, constant swearing, and generally a writing style that is unpleasant to read. I waded through this book based on the promise of a climactic ending that would bring it all together and make it worth it. In the end, I wish I had my time back.

  • Lowed
    2019-01-29 12:40

    This is my first take of the author James Morrow. True, this was a light reading, but this book asked the big questions. The premise being the corpse of God (a two-mile long white male with a grey beard, as he has often been depicted) is discovered floating in the Atlantic Ocean. The captain of a supertanker is dispatched by the Vatican on a secret mission to tow the Divine Corpse to a tomb carved out of the Arctic ice.A real thought- provoking read. But note that this book is definitely NOT for everybody. When I was discussing this with a friend (a not-so-religious-but-someone-who-believed-in-the-Almighty), I got a high brow reaction. Compared to Lamb by Christopher Moore. Nah! forget I said that. I cannot compare this with that book.!

  • trickgnosis
    2019-01-30 17:54

    I think I came to this with the wrong expectations. It's pretty light on the theology in favor of some Pythonesque absurd humor, which of course would please most folks. I enjoyed it but coming in the midst of the dark 900 pg doorstoppers I seem to be specializing in these days I was not in the best place to fully appreciate the humor. That said, I would certainly recommend this to certain of my friends.

  • Ignacio Senao f
    2019-02-07 16:46

    Un disparate de historia contada en tono serio.Unos ángeles reclaman la ayuda del capitán de un petrolero, pues Jesús ha muerto y es necesario que lo lleven a un iceberg que han amoldado para meterlo y se conserve congelado. Aquí esta sinopsis da mucho juego, pues es interesante saber que pasa luego de la muerte y descubrimiento de alguien tan dubitativo en nuestra sociedad. Pero es que aún queda algo mejor: necesitan un petrolero porque Jesús es como una montaña de grande y para mas disparate, este petrolero remolcándolo, se perderá y pasaran mucha hambre, con las implicaciones tan interesante como que se esta descomponiendo Jesús, tiene mucha carne…

  • PaulPerry
    2019-02-14 18:46

    Never judge a book by its cover, right? Does going on the title count?We all do that, of course, and it was the title that first grabbed me, then the description made it a must read. Morrow is a writer that I was only vaguely aware of, but the reviews appealed to me immediately. So when the Atheist Book Club group were looking for fiction recommendations I just had to put it forward, and am very glad I did – although I was slightly worried that the book was perhaps less atheistic than I had anticipated.The initial set up just sounds so inventive and funny: The archangels come to the Vatican to tell them that god has died and his two mile long corpse is floating in the mid Atlantic. They have hollowed out an iceberg off Svalbard and want it towing to this tomb before corruption sets in, so the Vatican hires a former super tanker Captain, disgraced since being in charge when his vessel caused the world's most damaging oil slick – along with his former ship – to do the job.I confess that what I expected was fairly straightforward, irreverent humour and plenty of digs at the absurdities of religion, but I was somewhat wide of the mark. Don't get me wrong, it is a very funny book (although more in way of later Pratchett with the humour leavening more serious episodes than early, slapstick Pratchett) and I'm sure that many people would consider it irreverent simply because of the subject, but Morrow does much, much more than take the easy option. What he gives us is an incredibly smart book about how we define our beliefs as much as they define us, about the roots of morality (of course), about hypocrisy, about how people react when their most cherished beliefs are threatened and the ends that they'll go to to protect those beliefs and, most of all, about personal redemption in the face of an uncaring universe.The author draws his cast of characters superbly well – all, arguably and to varying degrees, caricatures perhaps, but also with subtlety and humanity. And as often as not, any cartooning of characters or situations is there to wrongfoot us, to show up our own assumptions. For instance, when the crew of the tanker begin to lose all moral perspective I admit that I was initially disappointed that Morrow seemed to be showing the collapse of morality without an omnipresent god but, as at every turn of the novel, he had of course anticipated me and lead me down a path that would bring me to a far more thorough – and entertaining – discussion of the questions than I had given him credit for.This is one of those rare books that not only kept me gripped and entertained from cover to cover, but kept me thinking more profoundly than I could have before I read it for long after. An instant favourite, and I think I will be spending quite some time in Mr Morrow's company.

  • HeavyReader
    2019-02-06 14:59

    Yesterday at work, I got an ILL request for this book. The title did not ring any mental bells. I pulled the book from the shelf. No mental bells rang. It wasn't until I was checking the book out to the borrowing library that I looked at the cover and heard the faintest mental ding. The illustration on the cover was familiar.I read the story description on the back of the book. Oh yes, that sounded familiar. It was familiar. I had read this book.But I can't remember where I was when I read the book or why I chose to read it or if someone suggested it to me. Such mystery.Of course, I can't really remember if I liked it, but if it didn't leave much of an impression on me, I must not have liked it very much.

  • Melissa Ruhl
    2019-02-07 15:04

    The premise of Towing Jehovah is fascinating to me. What if God died? What if he descended from heaven, lifeless and floating aimlessly in the Atlantic ocean, with his falling angels announcing to Earthly religious leaders that they must bury him in an icy Arctic cave? How would people respond?While I thoroughly enjoyed Morrow's creative, yet clear writing and his bold questioning of possibility, traits I always look forward to in his stories, I felt Towing Jehovah to be lacking. Throughout the novel, a handful of different characters showed a variety of responses to God's death: a sea captain who just wants to reclaim a bit of honor, a deeply reflective religious scholar who must weigh Vatican imperatives with his own moral searching, a Jewish deckhand who struggles who the anti-Semitic prejudice of his evangelical peer...through these stories we see the struggle to live ethically in Anno Postdomini One.But there is one set of characters that make no sense to me. How would atheists respond to the sudden appearance of a large mass identified as God's body? I would imagine one prominent response would be validation through the knowledge that God was in fact some sort of giant humanoid and, if this giant humanoid also facilitated or inspired some Biblical stories, he certainly didn't create the universe or control life or death, as evidenced by his current state. God's death, should the term "god" still apply, would reveal him to have been far from omnipotent. The book's two atheists, Cassie and Oliver, leaders of an activist atheist society, respond quite differently. They freak out, believing the appearance of the deity's corpse to be an event that will usher in a new era of ignorance, though ignorance concerning what, I am unclear. In their view, God's death somehow validates everything they are against. It validates the existence of a god, it validates the dominance of patriarchy, and it weights faith over reason. Morrow never provides a reason for why they feel this way, for why they never consider the possibility that God's death will alter rather than further the course of human history, but their panic does allow an essential plot line to develop. I hate to say this about Morrow because I'm such a fan of his work, but I feel like he left a major gap in the story and filled it with a bit of nonsense in order to facilitate a plot device. Ultimately, the hole and layer of brush covering it prevented me from going forward with the book and believing its conclusions. For how concise, yet thorough Morrow is in his short stories, I am bummed that the first novel of his I've read was so intellectually disappointing. Nevertheless, I did enjoy his language -- his use of words and his way of revealing characters and worlds was always enthralling -- and I will probably read the rest of the books in the Godhead series with the hope that he will more fully explore the diversity of responses to the death of God.

  • Tom Quinn
    2019-01-28 19:01

    God is dead, and something has got to be done about His corpse! This book drops the bombshell of this very unique premise, and then it's off to the races. It's hard to miss the metaphor. In fact, the whole novel is in-your-face-allegorical from the get-go, featuring a cast of superstitious sailors led by a guilt-ridden former captain who has never gotten over the massive oil spill his negligence caused. He in turn is supervised by a modern-day priest/particle physicist who bridges the holy mysteries of ancient Rome with the scientific mysteries of subatomic physics. Their main opposition? A World War II air force reenactment squad hired by militant atheists to sink the Lord in hopes that nobody will find out about it. If you already have a background in Catholicism or nautical shipping, it will help. If you don't, prepare to hear a lot about the minutae of these niche interests. Much has been said comparing Morrow to Vonnegut, but other than an absurdist plot and overtones of humanism, I don't think the comparison is apt. Vonnegut dealt in broad generalities that are universal to all people whereas Morrow delves deeply into specific lifestyles and professions. We get to a similar ending place as far as satire, but the routes are wildly different. And where Vonnegut wielded his satire with the deft precision of minimalism, Morrow bludgeons us about the head and shoulders. The plot advances by lurches and surges, and a lot of the characters' decisions seem poorly explained, their motivations too strained to be credible: the feminists take quick offense upon learning that God is male, the atheists immediately decide to destroy the evidence rather than admit they were wrong. Heavy-handed is an understatement. It's all too pat, too one-dimensional.Maybe the satirist Morrow should be compared to is William Golding. There's a lot of "Lord of the Flies" to be found--in the near-immediate loss of morality and increasing savagery the crew shows, for example. "No eyes on us", so why not just start murdering people? Hell, the lead female paints her face with blood in the bathroom mirror as she vows to sink God's corpse in the name of rationality. That's kind of funny, but it doesn't hold up long under scrutiny.Don't get me wrong--it's still a strong narrative that grips your attention at times. I was tearing through almost a hundred pages a day and still asking "What happens next?" But it also grows repetitive and very, very silly in the second and third acts. And there were pages with writing so hackneyed I cringed. All in all, an interesting thought experiment but not executed well enough to tempt me to continue with the next two in the series. 2 stars out of 5, rounded up to 2.5 since it did get me thinking.

  • Nik Kane
    2019-01-25 19:35

    I think I hate this book's ending and maybe in the light of this ending the whole meaning of the book becomes despicable to me even though I enjoyed reading it all the way up to the last few pages. I don't know... Maybe after reflecting I'll discover a less odious interpretation than that which struck upon first finishing the book: namely that humanity is too cowardly to live without the crutch of supernatural theism even when they know it to be objectively false, and that, further, their fears of a world uncontrolled by the ethics of supernatural reward/punishment may even be justified.I also find it unfortunate that the only truly rational character in the book was given only two lines, made to look like a bitch and then never heard from again (this being the member of the rationalist society who quits in protest of the plan to blow up God's body).In the other works I've read by this author he has a way of promoting rationalism even though none of his characters act or think thoroughly rationally. So maybe I will think up a way that this book could have a less obvious meaning, but at first blush he seems to desert the rationalist cause with the moral of this story.

  • Mathieu
    2019-02-12 20:56

    Dieu est mort, et son corps dérive dans le golfe de Guinée. Anthony van Horne, ex capitaine d'un supertanker et responsable d'une marée noire sans précédent est chargé par le Vatican de remorquer le corps jusqu'à sa dernière demeure.Tel est le pitch de départ de ce roman qui, sous ses dehors rigolards et gentiment iconoclaste interroge notre rapport au sacré et à dieu, bien sûr.Car en effet, si le ton semble d'abord léger et en dépit d'un humour corrosif distillé au fil des pages, c'est aussi un conte philosophique qui nous est proposé, la notion de cadavre divin remettant en cause beaucoup de choses, du simple concept d'athéisme (dur à assumer face à un cadavre de trois kilomètres de long) en passant par le rapport à la morale, car quoi de plus tentant que de transgresser tous les tabous une fois l'assurance de ne plus être "sous le regard de dieu" ?Je ne dévoilerai rien du dénouement, mais je peux néanmoins dire que ce livre allie drôlerie, philosophie et aussi, un peu, théologie (mais c'est un peu logique non ?) avec un égal bonheur, ce qui suffit à en faire une lecture recommandé et recommandable.

  • Tracey
    2019-01-22 20:36

    I bought Towing Jehovah about a year ago, but hadn't gotten around to reading it until now. I wish I hadn't waited!A tanker captain -- riddled with guilt about his involvement in a serious oil spill -- is approached by the Angel Gabriel to take on the job of salvaging God's dead body (which fell into the sea at 0 degrees latitude, 0 degrees longitude) by towing it to the Arctic, where the angels have built an ice tomb. He will be accompanied by/reporting to a Jesuit priest, representing the Vatican. On their trip, they rescue a radical athiest, who has her own ideas about what should be done with the corpse.Morrow takes this improbable vision and makes it seem utterly real and incredibly compelling. The characters struggle with the nature of God and Mother Nature on their voyage. There are some blackly funny moments, and other passages that make you question your own beliefs. It's listed as science fiction - but I see it more as allegorical fiction. I definitely plan on passing this on to friends & family, as soon as I get a second copy!

  • Tracy
    2019-01-27 18:54

    Oh, I liked this one a lot. Not for those who take their religion too seriously. Not for those who have a limited sense of whimsy or the absurd.I skipped over or skimmed the re-enactment 'chapters' most of the time (that plotline didn't interest me until the end). I could put the book down, but was always finding ways to pick it up again to catch a few pages while waiting for water to boil, the toast to cook, etc.This author was recommended by Christopher Moore on his webpage. I'll definitely try another James Morrow book.

  • Jim
    2019-02-11 15:50

    In the mid-nineties, I managed to go two years without reading a book that was not related to my classwork. This book got me out of that rut, and I've never gone back in since. Towing Jehovah is delightfully irreverent (wait until you see what happens when they run out of food), and thought-provoking. It raises genuine questions about human nature and the power of belief in the midst of a maelstrom of ridiculous happenings. An absolute delight.

  • James
    2019-02-05 20:50

    Not for the faint of (religious) heart, this is quite the modern day Gullivers Travels. God is dead and floating in the ocean and the Vatican has tasked a failed Oil Tanker pilot to tow him north before his 600 foot tall corpse starts to rot. Buried in an engaging but clearly fansical tale are some thought provoking gems. If God is dead, is anyone judging your actions? You can borrow my copy....

  • Pierre A Renaud
    2019-02-03 16:55

    God is really dead this time (and accessorily makes an excellent delicacy and premium fertilizer). Do we reveal this to humanity, helping it achieve emancipation ? No - better keep this sad affair a secret, otherwise a desperate humanity will fall into murderous chaos. The church lives happily ever after, and so does a self-deluded humankind. An unambitious letdown for what appeared to be a promising prelude.

  • Peggy
    2019-02-13 20:37

    God is dead (we know this because His 2 mile-long body is floating in the ocean). Before all of the angels die of grief, they hire a disgraced tanker captain to tow the body into the Arctic Sea so it won’t rot. Funny, satirical, and thought-provoking, Morrow’s book reminds me of Vonnegut, although I couldn’t tell you exactly why.

  • Jeff
    2019-02-14 13:43

    This book is pretty amazing. It takes a an outrageous concept and takes it in directions that you can't forsee. There are also many philisophical questions that come up that I found very interesting. Combine that with plenty of humor & a surprising amount of violence & sex and what you get is an intelligent thought provoking book. Definitely worth reading.

  • Peter Johnston
    2019-02-03 19:37

    God has died and a disgraced sea captain has been hired to tow his body to a crypt carved from a glacier by the Angels. It's meant to be a farce on the conflict between Reason and Faith, but it isn't particularly funny. Not terrible, but felt a bit flat to me.

  • Annemarie
    2019-02-01 12:56

    I really enjoyed this, though I got a bit queasy at the communion/cannibalism bit.

  • Aiyana
    2019-01-29 12:53

    God is dead. No, really. His body is floating around in the ocean like a small island. And everyone from the Vatican to the atheists wants in on the action. Enter an old tanker and its small crew of misfits, charged with the mission of a lifetime: to tow the body of the creator to His final resting place. If only things were that simple.This is a quirky little satirical piece, and it was a bit hit-and-miss for me. I suspect that some of the humor of it was lost on me, as I don't have much of a Judeo-Christian background. There were moments that I found genuinely witty, but some bits struck me as unnecessarily absurd, weirdness for its own sake, which I don't think the story needs. The plot is unevenly paced, and a lot of questions are left unanswered. Zany. That's the word for it. This book was zany. It brings to mind works by Christopher Moore and Tim Dorsey. That should be enough to let you figure out if you want to read it.

  • Joshua Hair
    2019-02-04 17:59

    What a unique concept! I couldn't pass this one up even if I wanted. God is dead, floating face-up in the ocean, and it's up to a disgraced captain to tow him to salvation. Let me tell you, folks, if you open your minds and let Mr. Morrow expand your ideas of religion you're in for a wild ride. I feel I must point out that, as a devout Christian, some of the things which occurred in this book sent a sacrilegious shudder up my spine. Yet...I couldn't help but love the sheer imagination on display here. At the end, I thought to myself, "Oh, Joshua, how sad that it must end." Imagine my surprise when, lo and behold, I discover...two more books that follow this one. Thank you, Mr. Morrow, for one of the most original concepts I've ever encountered. I'll soon be reviewing the next two in your marvelous series.

  • Mitch
    2019-01-26 18:41

    A strong 4.0 StarsThis felt very similar to a Christopher Moore novel but slightly more serious, slightly less funny and slightly more heart. A very fun and strange odyssey of an oil tanker and it's crew as it towed the body of Jehovah to the arctic for his last rest. I think where this book really shines it's in its characters. It wasn't until I finished until I released how attached I had become of them. I think were the book falls short is in the fact that the humor isn't as funny as it thinks it is and I think the themes could have been expanded on a little more.Overall, a well written and bizarre but very fun odyssey of a book.

  • Bennett
    2019-02-05 14:59

    Religious absurdism at its best. While sometimes the plot gets a bit mired down by characters who seem to fluctuate between real people and caricatures, the concept of a deadly mission to tow God's dead corpse across the ocean for an arctic burial is too good to miss. Started this book not knowing what to expect, and emerged thoroughly amused, and even a bit sad, the book's surprisingly depressing theme sneaks up on you through the comedic tone it holds.

  • James Murphy
    2019-02-10 14:44

    Okay, no beating around the bush. In James Morrow's "Towing Jehovah," God is dead. His mortal remains are adrift in the Atlantic Ocean. Anthony Van Horne, a disgraced sea captain, is hired to tow the deceased deity to His final resting place in the Arctic Ocean. I certainly enjoyed reading this book; however, I have mixed feelings about recommending it. If you're an open-minded person who can handle a little irreverence toward religion, check it out.

  • Chuck Jones
    2019-01-28 15:51

    Part story of an epic sea voyage and the associated hardships that come along with it and part thought-provoking prose about what it would be like if God was to perish, Towing Jehovah was a very good book.

  • Cory
    2019-01-23 19:54

    So that was one of the strangest books I've read. The idea of God falling out of the sky dead had a lot of potential, but this missed the boat (so to speak). Somewhat entertaining, but mostly meh.

  • Danie
    2019-02-06 17:57

    Interesting premise, well executed. Can be read and enjoyed as a standalone book.

  • Henrik
    2019-02-01 18:01

    This is a fun book with some interesting characters, but almost to0 farcical at times.