Modern Gods - Nick Laird

Staff Pick
Laird’s riveting third novel starts with the two Donnelly sisters—different in many ways—and unfolds simultaneously in Ulster, Northern Ireland, and New Ulster, an island near Papua New Guinea. At first the twin narratives, like Liz and Alison, seem to have little in common but a name. The Ulster story involves Alison’s new husband, who the day after the wedding is exposed as a mass murderer. He was recruited by the Protestant Ulster Freedom fighters in his late teens—at the height of The Troubles—and gunned down five people in a Derry pub. Cut to New Ulster. Liz, an anthropologist, is working on a BBC program about a religious cult. Or is it a revolutionary movement? The leader could be mad—or just angry. She demands “cargo,” the material goods she knows the West enjoys. She also wants to know why missionaries told her that her tribe’s gods were worthless, yet took the icons and enshrined them in museums. The sins of the colonist fathers are visited on the children of both Northern Ireland and Oceania, and both places seem poised for another round of revenge and violence. What can stop it? Recognizing that history’s vast injustices are both no one’s fault and everyone’s, and that people everywhere are alike, the apparent differences in their ways of life only “tiny variations on a theme of great suffering, great loss.”  This may sound like a simple truth, but when it emerges at the end of this compelling and compassionate novel, it feels hard-won.
Modern Gods Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670025145
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Viking - June 27th, 2017

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