After Cass Seltzers book becomes a surprise best seller, he's dubbed the atheist with a soul and becomes a celebrity. He wins over the stunning Lucinda Mandelbaum, the goddess of game theory, and loses himself in a spiritually expansive infatuation.36 Arguments for the Existence of God plunges into the great debate of our day: the clash between faith and reason. World events are being shaped by fervent believers at home and abroad, while a new atheism is asserting itself in the public sphere. On purely intellectual grounds the skeptics would seem to have everything on their side. Yet people refuse to accept their seemingly irrefutable arguments and continue to embrace faith in God as their source of meaning, purpose, and comfort.
Through the enchantment of fiction, award-winning novelist and MacArthur Fellow Rebecca Newberger Goldstein shows that the tension between religion and doubt cannot be understood through rational argument alone. It also must be explored from the point of view of individual people caught in the raptures and torments of religious experience in all their variety.
Using her gifts in fiction and philosophy, Goldstein has produced a true crossover novel, complete with a nail-biting debate ("Resolved: God Exists") and a stand-alone appendix with the 36 arguments (and responses) that propelled Seltzer to stardom.
Narrator Oliver Wyman skillfully inhabits the robust, zany cast of characters that populate this novel, from a young, female, hippie anthropology grad student to the Rebbe, or leader, of a sect of fictional ultra-orthodox Jews known as the Valdeners.
His most nuanced performance comes with his sensitive portrayal of the Rebbe's son, Azarya. As the only son, he is in line to accept the mantle of Valdener leadership from his father. But Azarya's life becomes complicated when Roz Margolis the grad student after a chance meeting with Azarya as a 6-year-old, believes he possesses a genius that is too profound to remain trapped within the confines of his upstate New York community. Roz only meets Azarya because her boyfriend is also a grad student whose mentor, Jonas Elijah Klapper, is interested in the Valdeners.
Klapper’s existence gives Wyman a chance to have as much fun as any voice actor could hope to have portraying a character. Born Jonas Klepfish, Jonas Elijah Klapper (the book’s narrator always refers to him by his full name) grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City, managed to graduate from Columbia University and become a professor there, and then jumped ship for Frankfurter University (a thinly disguised Brandeis) in Weedham, Mass., by the time the story begins. Along the way, Klapper has affected an English accent and the use of 75-cent words whenever a 5-cent word would do. And Klapper is not the only oddball. The book is populated with them a bubbe with borderline personality disorder and a "lupine" French poet among them making the novel a hugely entertaining listening experience.
But the story, which spans about 20 years, doesn’t neglect to develop main characters whose faults, foibles, and humanity deeply endear them to the listener. As the title suggests, the characters spend a great deal of time meditating on whether or how God manifests himself among them, as they come to realize that if they've only got each other, they're not in such bad shape. Maggie Frank
"Oliver Wyman’s narration contains just the right bit of mischief to deliver the polysyllabic academician’s jargon in this ambitious, humorous new novel…Wyman is wonderful as puffed-up conversations about the psychology of religion, Matthew Arnold’s poetry, and the Kabbalah rain down." (AudioFile)
We've sent an email with your order details. Order ID #:
To access this title, visit your library in the app or on the desktop website.
Subtly Codifying Your Atheist Suspicions