“A wicked, impish conceit, all ably orchestrated with Duncan’s playful intelligence and sizzling wit.” Arena
“Duncan packs more wit and energy into one page of I, Lucifer than most writers fit into an entire novel. The book is a leap forward in prose.” Neal Pollack
“A fiendishly sharp, intelligent examination of modern human life that is as funny as hell.” The Times (London)
Fiendishly funny, wickedly eloquent
hilarious pyrotechnic prose.” Big Issue
“Clever and challenging
sizzling with mephitic energy.” The Independent
What really makes this novel sensational is not the bacchanalian word revelry or its hilarious biblical revisionism. Rather, it's the seemingly implausible story of the devil's awakening to his latent humanity. Duncan just blew me away with his conceit that the devil was so overcome with Blakean awe in his discovery of our sensory world -- "The sky. For Heaven's sake the sky … the blueness of it threatened to swallow my brand-new consciousness whole" -- that he would ask, "This can't be what it's like for them. If this is what it's like for them how do they … how on earth can they … get anything done?" — Tom Paine
In Paradise Lost, Milton set out to "justifie the wayes of God to men." In this novel, British author Duncan (Hope; Love Remains) attempts to justify the ways of Satan to the hip. God gives his evil subaltern a month in a human body, with an option to own, thus permanently casting off his pain-racked cosmological being. The grim alternative for Lucifer is to subsist in eternal nothingness. The vacant body belongs to Declan Gunn, a writer on the brink of suicide. Lucifer narrates his romps through escort service dates, cocaine-laced nights and, mostly, the thrills of the wondrous human sensorium. Lucifer options his life story-from his starring role with Adam and Eve to his struggles with an autocratic God-to a film producer and torments Declan's lover, Viola, with the promise of a juicy part in the upcoming movie. But for all his jauntiness, Lucifer must unexpectedly wrestle with Gunn's conscience, including Gunn's memories of Penelope, his alternately loathed and longed-for ex. When Lucifer makes the disastrous decision to see Penelope and forgive her for dumping him, he confronts the goodness of mercy, a battle that leaves him sick with nausea and cognitive disorientation. Lucifer tosses wisecracks around as if they were hand grenades. On the wickedness of a rival of Gunn's, he quips, "There's no murder in him, and only a very predictable dribble of lust. His soul, and billions like it, provide the cosmos with its muzak." Alas, Lucifer's wit doesn't often rise to this sharply satiric level: it's more like a series of outtakes from Bedazzled. This is the archetypal promising novel-the author's talent with words eclipses the substance of his story. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Declan Gunn is a sad sack of potatoes. He is fat, balding, and fairly unattractive-and he suffers from God's skimpy allotment to him in the "status of your manhood" department. His bland writing has given the world one novel and another that no one will publish, while his girlfriend (if she can be called that) is only sleeping with him until the nonexistent starring role in the nonexistent movie he is not writing comes through. So is it any wonder that he is sitting in his tiny apartment in a shady part of London deciding to off himself when God finally steps in (with Lucifer in tow). This is where the story, told by Luce himself, gets good. God gives Declan's body to Lucifer to live in on Earth for a month in an attempt to coax the fallen angel back into Heaven. Lucifer, of course, has other plans for what he sees as only a vacation and starts by improving the life of his host body. This captivating and truly clever novel is a real original, so successful in its attempt to humanize Lucifer that the reader actually likes this charming devil. Heavy with biblical references the less religious might miss and laden with crude images and language, this novel is not for those sensitive to these matters, but if you like witty, raunchy British humor, you'll love this.-Rachel Collins, "Library Journal" Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
The Devil is on vacation, sampling life in London and reflecting on some of his career highlights, in this grab bag from the British Duncan (first US publication). Lucifer addresses you directly in an intermittent monologue, and his voice will either pull you in or turn you off. It's flip and in-your-face as it mixes insults and endearments: somewhat like stand-up comedy. But there's also a smidgen of plot. Gabriel brings Lucifer an offer from God: the chance to redeem himself if he agrees to live as a human. There will be a one-month trial period. Lucifer accepts. He has no interest in redemption (are you kidding?), but a month in a human body will be a great vacation and a nice respite from the pain that racks him unceasingly. (Or so we are told in passing. For a real taste of Hell, read Stanley Elkin's marvelous The Living End.) As Lucifer enters the body of Declan Gunn (note the anagram), he experiences sensuous paradise. Now he can taste an ice cream, smell the roses (and the sewers), and scramble his brains with drugs and booze. This Gunn is a sad sack, a failed writer on the verge of suicide, an ugly little monkey to book, but Lucifer enjoys visiting his girlfriends. There's nothing devilish about these escapades. A visit to the office of Declan's agent, where he manhandles a rival, could be any young writer's fantasy; sessions with movie people are routine spoofs of Hollywood. Yet there are also those memories of career highlights (the original rebellion in heaven, the temptation in the Garden), as well as long, quite serious riffs on the Inquisition and the Third Reich, both splendid examples of the systematic evil Lucifer sees as a growth industry. Missing, though, is anyinternal dynamic to reconcile the snide and the solemn. Duncan has comic energy to spare but no clear idea of what to do with it. The result reads like a promising first draft. First printing of 35,000