ISHMAEL by Christopher Davis


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The pattern of Mr. Davis' literary concerns--the interrelationship between victim and torturer, hero and outcast--is baked to a white heat in this Biblical novel about the disinheriting of Ishmael. Born of Abraham (Prince and beloved of the God of Righteousness), and the servant Hagar (conversant with the clamorous gods of ""the old days when God was young and numerous and first trying to be heard""), Ishmael is cast out by his father into the desert. There amid many agonies and ravings of his mother, Ishmael contains and is contained by ""the God of life, which is nature."" In the form of a lion, in a tale of an ancient king, his father visits him and he visits the father he loves. At the close Ishmael lives to sire princes, but he, the child, ""God's error and [his] father's,"" has been overthrown. Abraham's God had been created out of the corruptibility of man. In a graceful, cadenced style, which metamorphizes into the indigenous posture of a ""dawn"" religious consciousness--a religio-philosophic exposition, difficult, intense and sustained.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1969
Publisher: Harper & Row