The Story of B

The Story of B

4.5 34
by Daniel Quinn
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The Story of B combines Daniel Quinn's provocative and visionary ideas with a masterfully plotted story of adventure and suspense in this stunning, resonant novel that is sure to stay with readers long after they have finished the last page. Father Jared Osborne—bound by a centuries-old mandate held by his order to know before all others that the

…  See more details below

Overview

The Story of B combines Daniel Quinn's provocative and visionary ideas with a masterfully plotted story of adventure and suspense in this stunning, resonant novel that is sure to stay with readers long after they have finished the last page. Father Jared Osborne—bound by a centuries-old mandate held by his order to know before all others that the Antichrist is among us—is sent to Europe on a mission to find a peripatetic preacher whose radical message is attracting a growing circle of followers. The target of Osborne's investigation is an American known only as B. He isn't teaching New Age platitudes or building a fanatical following; instead, he is quietly uncovering the hidden history of our planet, redefining the fall of man, and retracing a path of human spirituality that extends millions of years into the past. From the beginning, Fr. Osborne is stunned, outraged, and awed by the simplicity and profundity of B's teachings. Is B merely a heretic—or is he the Antichrist sent to seduce humanity not with wickedness, but with ideas more alluring than those of traditional religion? With surprising twists and fascinating characters, The Story of B answers this question as it sends readers on an intellectual journey that will forever change the way they view spirituality, human history, and, indeed, the state of our present world.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Quinn returns to fiction after a five-year hiatus with a sequel of sorts to Ishmael, winner of the Turner Tomorrow Award in 1991. Like its controversial predecessor, this book is not really a novel, but an extended Socratic dialogue that promulgates the same animist solutions to global problems that the author recorded last year in his spiritual autobiography, Providence: The Story of a Fifty-Year Vision Quest. The narrator, Jared Osborne, is a priest of the Laurentians, a fictional Roman Catholic order under an ancient, covert mandate to stand watch against the coming of the Antichrist. Although skeptical, Jared is enjoined by his superior to investigate Charles Atterley, an expatriate American preacher known to his followers as "B." Allowing Jared into his inner circle in Munich, B soon dispels both the concern that he is the Antichrist and the shivery intimations of apocalypse that make the opening chapters darkly intriguing. Through long, often numbingly repetitive parables and speeches, B instructs Jared in the solutions to overpopulation, ecological despoliation, cultural intolerance and other ills that have dogged civilization since the time of "the Great Forgetting" 10,000 years ago. B's smug pontificating and his disciples' unquestioning devotion reduces them to interchangeable mouthpieces for Quinn's philosophies. As a result, Jared's spiritual conversion away from Roman Catholicism and toward Quinn-ism, intended to be the book's dramatic high point, falls painfully flat. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Quinn, author of the best-selling cult classic Ishmael (LJ 12/91), returns with another quasispiritual tale about a priest who awaits the arrival of the Antichrist.
Kirkus Reviews
Loose sequel to Quinn's debut novel, Ishmael (1992), the odd and controversial winner of the $500,000 Turner Tomorrow Award.

In Ishmael, a young neophyte more or less accidentally apprenticed himself to a great talking ape, allowing Quinn to string together a series of Socratic dialogues on mankind's woes. Here, the device is much the same. We meet a young Laurentian priest, Jared Osbourne, who notes early on that the Laurentians still observe an old injunction: to watch for the appearance of the Antichrist. Jared is sent by his superior to investigate an itinerant European preacher known as B, a.k.a. Charles Atterley. Atterley isn't satanic in the least, however, nor even very religious, so the "Antichrist" tag is just a platform for Quinn to do his own preaching, which is reminiscent of the ape's declamations in Ishmael. When B is assassinated for his views, it makes little sense in terms of the plot, since all B does is talk (and talk)—he doesn't cast spells or plot world dominion. He talks about how primitive cultures were divided up into "Leavers" and "Takers," how these ancient archetypes are still working themselves out, and how overpopulation will, in the next century, come near to obliterating us all. Modern agriculture, which Quinn thinks of as "totalitarian" because it's so divorced from nature, will not address the needs of 12 billion people (the UN estimate of how many of us there will be by 2040). The novel's format is artificial and far-fetched, but no matter: The author writes a facile, clear prose, and the ideas he wants to discuss are admittedly important. Quinn is a provocative thinker. Imagine a combination of Robert M. Pirsig for style, Ayn Rand for cardboard characters on soapboxes, and the Unabomber for a nature-centered but slightly menacing feel.

The combination equals Quinn, and makes for a helluva rant.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553379013
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/28/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
235,443
Product dimensions:
5.26(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.92(d)

What People are saying about this

Peter Fenge
One of the most important storytellers of our age, Daniel Quinn, in The Story of B, continues the journey begun so beautifully with Ishmael. Whether or not you agree with every word, there is no doubt that B offers us a unique opportunity -- to think together about the unquestioned belief and assumption that have shaped our culture over the past ten thousand years, and that will, if they remain unquestioned, keep us on a path becomes increasingly unsustainable.

Meet the Author

Daniel Quinn's first book, Ishmael, won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship, a prize for fiction presenting creative and positive solutions to global problems.  He is also the author of Providence, The Story of B, and My Ishmael.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Story of B 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't reccomend reading this book enough--it's funny, suspenceful, relevant and deeply beautiful in it's vision of life and the changes to come. If you care about humanity's future and the future of your grandchildren, it's a must read. Than, pass it on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Quinn's second book of the Ishmael trilogy, which I actually read last, is another breath-taking leap up the Quinn Ladder of Enlightenment. Both Quinn's content and his method of conveying his message boldly rise above the earlier, more sympathetic teachings of Ishmael. Charles (or B) emerges as a mysterious bearer of truth--the truth that our gut has known for years but has not yet acknowledged consciously. B has an indescribable charisma that permeates an honesty too noble for even modesty. His message is one of vision and hope. As Ishmael noted, the human race should not wallow in shame. Rather, we should see ourselves as the first culture to hold nature's most important opportunity--the opportunity to reverse a world-wide movement of destruction. With B's new vision, a new day has surely begun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truly sublime. Read it, your views on culture, religion and the future of the human race will be altered. Macro-Anthropology through a Darwin colored lense, this book just makes too much sense. One recommendation, as you read the book, skip back and read the short lectures as they are referred too. Makes for better reading. Read and spread the word, You Are B.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Story Of B in its own unique way has done what Ishmael and My Ishmael has done for me, CHANGE MY MIND ABOUT OUR CULTURE. Daniel Quinn's work has changed the way I see the world, and the way I live my life. Quinns work are tools to save the world. Give B a read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is nothing I could simply say about this book that could come close to giving it justice. I read Ishmael and My Ishmael before reading The Story of B, and I loved what I found there. Through Quinn's unique 'teacher/pupil' writing style, he takes us on yet another journey of the heart, the soul, and especially the mind, as the reader works thru his myriads of ideas. I can never tire of Quinn's way of writing, so each of his books can be read again and again with new things popping out at you every time. This book - along with all Daniel Quinn books - is among my most treasured stepping-stones this lifetime. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves life, and thinks there just might be more to love. Starr
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is by far my favorite novel ever written.... it shakes the foundations of your perception of the world we live in... reading this book (or any of quinn's novels) is to change your life forever
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book changed my life - suddenly my life's anguish, the unarticulated frustration and suspicion that had been bothering me, was given form and reason. Since my days as an English major in college 20 years ago I have read a great many books. This one is truly deserving of the term 'revolutionary.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the second of Quinn's books. It is thus a deepening of the issues discussed in Ishmael. In my opinion, this is the book that is the most fun to read, as it was written as a thriller. However, I think Quinn went too fast in writing it, and his arguments are not as strong and as developed as they should be. It nevertheless remains a must-read if you liked the first book. The main point of this novel is to make us focus on the issue of population growth. Indeed, it might be surprising to most of us that the human population is now doubling every thirty five years. It undeniably represents a very big problem because, as the Earth's resources are limited, we might not be able to support many more mouths to feed and accomodate. Our present understanding of population growth is that we need to generate more food in order to keep up with this incredible population growth. However, nobody really asks the most important question: Why is this poluation growing so fast suddenly, when it used to grow only very very slowly just a few thousand years ago? Quinn, who works in collaboration with Dr. Alan Thornhill in the Natural Sciences Department at Rice University, proposed an interesting point: We have been confusing the cause for the consequence the whole time! Indeed, making the comparison with the arm race during the Cold War, Quinn makes us aware that people are made of food, and that there would not be more people if there was not more food. Therefore, we are the ones fueling this incredible population growth by creating more food than we really need! This is very logical in terms of natural negative feedback loops that we find in the wild; that is, generally animals eat their food, which by consequence decreases, which leads to a decrease in population, leading to an increase in food, an increase in population, a decrease in food...etc... However, humans have extracted themselves from this negative feedback loop, which promotes balance, and have created a positive feedback loop, which is drawing us toward the collapse of the fragile equilibrium of the web of life. Quinn then moves on to make the distinction between salvationist religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Islam), whose followers are passively waiting for a miraculous Savior to come fix all our problems, and anismists, who are people who are aware of the laws of nature and lead their life in accordance to them. Thus, Quinn explains that when humans decided to 'take their life in their own hands' they tried to design laws from scratch, which proved to be a disaster. Indeed, if natural laws evolved over many million years so that they reflect what 'works,' humans have been focusing on what is 'forbidden' to do. In consequence, humans have faced great difficulties in trying to prevent people from doing what is forbidden, leading to the incredible mess of our present judicial system, as well as rebellious acts from the youngs who feel pressured to conform, so that we are now facing a cultural collapse of values. Quinn nevertheless ends the book on a note of optimism, as he says that instead of trying to implement new programs that never work to fight our social problems, we should instead adopt a new vision of human life within the entire community of life, so that people get more of what they really want (a sense of belongingness and fulfillment, for example) and stop acting crazy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is outstanding not so much in its narrative story or even prose style, but in its teachings- which is the purpose for the book. After reading it, you will think about it on a daily basis whether you want to or not. It is a pleasure and an opportunity in itself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing i love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read for someone who wishes to better understand the world around us.