Messias When John Cave a mortician by trade appears on television to declare that death is infinitely preferable to life he sparks a religious movement that quickly leaves Christianity and most of Islam in

  • Title: Messias
  • Author: Gore Vidal
  • ISBN: 9783518392171
  • Page: 180
  • Format: Paperback
  • When John Cave, a mortician by trade, appears on television to declare that death is infinitely preferable to life, he sparks a religious movement that quickly leaves Christianity and most of Islam in the dust Aided by a relentless public relations campaign and supported by a theology whipped into existence by a historian besotted with love for one of Cave s alluring diWhen John Cave, a mortician by trade, appears on television to declare that death is infinitely preferable to life, he sparks a religious movement that quickly leaves Christianity and most of Islam in the dust Aided by a relentless public relations campaign and supported by a theology whipped into existence by a historian besotted with love for one of Cave s alluring disciples, Cave s message proves irresistible Things really start to get out of hand, however, when the notion of voluntary death creeps into the doctrine and the world s population is invited to depart from life in pleasant establishments A deft and daring blend of satire and prophecy first published in 1954, Messiah eerily anticipates the excesses of Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Do , the guru of Heaven s Gate.
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      Published :2019-08-18T02:40:41+00:00

    660 Comment

    • Adrianna says:

      A brilliant (and oddly prescient) satire. With Messiah, Vidal offers a skewering criticism of organized religion, the politics behind it, and its far-reaching ramifications in a manner that is at once humorous, intelligent, and bone-chillingly accurate. While the subtle wit and deadpan snark that characterize Vidal's writing are present in Messiah, a bleak and ominous tone dominates the novel, befitting its narrative. Messiah is a fantastically engaging and smart novel, and had me contemplating [...]

    • Nancy Oakes says:

      as always, you can read more about plot, etc. by clicking here; read on for the shorter version. If ever there was a reason to take a break from reading what's on the New York Times bestseller list or from current fiction, this book is it. Going onto the favorites list for 2013, this novel is simply amazing. Considering it was first published in 1954, it's surprisingly current and definitely way ahead of its time. In this book, a new religion is born, and a simple message offered by a charismati [...]

    • Bruce says:

      Messiah is a chronicle of how a popular movement evolves into a major religion during the last 50 years of the twentieth century, told by one of its aging and disillusioned apostles, Eugene Luther. It is clearly meant as a parallel history and explanation of the rise of Christianity from an atheist's point of view. Much of this is dull and perfunctory, but the intermittent focus on Luther's personal difficulties in balancing his own aspirations with those of his fellow apostles is fascinating. I [...]

    • وائل المنعم says:

      The second novel i read by Gore Vidal after Kalki.He can make you very interesting reading his novels, You will never leave it before the last page, It's a well written thriller in an easy and beautiful english, The suspense in Luxor events are very interesting, The characters specially - Clarissa - remarkable and someway original, But what the hell it's really about, You have to be a naive to accept that a man only got a powerful eyes and hypnotise possiblities could change the world with some [...]

    • Adam says:

      If someone had not told me that this is a wonderful book, I might well have given up reading it. For the most part, I found this book colourless, not particularly interesting, and lacking in momentum and entertainment value. It was not what I expected from Gore Vidal. Its ending is quite exciting, but I am not sure that it is worth wading through what precedes it.

    • K.J. Kron says:

      OK, the first chapter is very heady, but after that the book is just fantastic.

    • Greg says:

      I found this book recently in a used book store: a quarter seemed like a good deal! The "Messiah" in this novel establishes a new "religion" which looks at death as "; literally no thing; and since, demonstrably, absence of things is good; death which is no thing is good." Given that, today, choosing death over years of a painful terminal illness is a growing issue (and in at least one state in the USA, mental illness is grouped with terminal illness as a "right to die") this book is oddly presc [...]

    • Zweegas says:

      This book is funny and interesting and not too serious even though I think its overall message that messiahs come along all the time is a serious, valid, important message.

    • Fede says:

      I just can't help loving this book. It deals with some of my interests besides literature: history, philosophy, deranged politics, religion and its exploitation. All this in a disquieting, enthralling, masterfully written story in which Vidal displays his narrative and visionary genius. What if a man called John Cave (a mortician, of all people) came out of the blue and started to preach to larger and larger groups of followers (in Los Angeles, of all places) that death is not to be feared becau [...]

    • Josip Serdarevic says:

      I didn't expect this to be a partially dystopian novel but, as it turns out, the solid structural logic of how the events unfold made it a rather depressing read at times, simply because it rang so true. While it may be a poke at Christianity, it could easily apply to how every and any ideological movement evolves. The book starts off strong, with Vidal's customarily insightful observations and asides on human behaviour but gets a little weak in the middle. The book's final third is pretty invig [...]

    • DoctorM says:

      I'm not generally a fan of Vidal--- his early novels were often intriguing, but in the last thirty-odd years of his life he became increasingly pompous, bitter, and a self-described radical whose contempt for the masses and the modern world would've done his great-grandfather (or the Venetian patrician clan he pretended to be somehow related to) proud. Nonethelessnetheless"Messiah" is proof that Vidal was a talented and pereceptive writer. As a sci-fi novel--- and as a philosophical novel about [...]

    • Guy Pyetan says:

      A many layered allegory on religion, politics, history, religion, power, America, Trump, with layer upon layer to uncover if you have a good sense of history. Aim to read this again in a year or so as I suspect I missed quite a bit.

    • Natalie says:

      Interesting story about how religions can form. What starts as a grandiose idea about "how we should think and live" between friends becomes a malignant and uncontrolable institutional force that changes the world

    • Tina says:

      I was totally absorbed by this book and found it profound and intriguing. Definitely needs another read!!

    • Robert Strupp says:

      Even though Gore Vidal was trying to show how silly Christianity is, he hugely missed the point

    • Darren says:

      Jim Jones' handbook?

    • Thomas Jacob Jr. says:

      A fascinating and terrifying short novel about the rise and eventual takeover of a dangerous cult, though the narrative itself reads more as a minor character study of a handful of individuals who sell the world on the glory of death. I think I would have liked to see a more robust novel in place of this trim treatise, with extended backstories of our key players, though they are still reasonably fleshed out and (with the possible exception of our narrator-protagonist), all pretty detestable in [...]

    • Steve Majerus-Collins says:

      This is a curious and sometimes enlightening look into the origins of a new religion that sweeps the world in the age of television, a retelling of the story of early Christianity with a dopier dogma and the aid of technology. It's silly at times, not surprisingly, but it's also a useful reminder that at the beginning of the world's great religions, there were only a handful of disciples and the word of a strange prophet. This book shows in modern form what it might have been like, at least from [...]

    • Tiffany says:

      Quite a relevant book. I like how Vidal is able to be eloquent and subtle, even when he is describing a dystopian future of sorts. The basic premise is as the summary describes, the rise of a death cult. It grows all over the world and even overtakes the big three religions in its followers and adherents. Of course the metaphor lies in the fact such religions are more concerned with what happens after death, than they focus on the rewards of life here and now. I found this book to be a great sta [...]

    • Jackie says:

      I'm a fairly big fan of both Vidals life story, some of his essays (I would like to read more) and definitely a lot of his politics, but when I went to read his novels I found that I wasn't really too Intrigued. His Empire chronicles with Burr and Lincoln et cetera most definitely are good informative books (I am about three quarters through Burr) but they aren't exactly "riveting" or "fun" but rather educational. I like that a great deal but I kept hoping for something really entertaining from [...]

    • Jos says:

      I'm not sure what to call Messias. Is it science fiction, urban fantasy, a social or a satirical novel? It's a dystopia for sure. It's the rare breed of a novel of ideas by an author who not only has original ideas but can write. Vidal's oeuvre is a weird mix of historical novels, biographies and campy fantastical stories with Messias being a prominent representative of the latter.John Cave is the messias, a former mortician with the surprising epiphany that life is all about death. His promise [...]

    • John says:

      For a book written nearly sixty years ago, this novel still feels quite fresh. In 1954, Gore Vidal pretty much had figured out what TV would do, and it's still doing it. There's an oddly appealing drawing-room comedy air to much of the discussion, as the protagonist is a well-born, well-educated, well-off man who makes good company at luncheon parties. Characters are for the most part only sketched, but I enjoyed listening to Clarissa, who like Salome in True Blood, claimed to be very old indeed [...]

    • Picoroco says:

      I read this book directly after reading Vidal's latest memoir, Point to Point Navigation, and it is interesting to compare the 83 year old Gore Vidal's style and tone in the later book to the style and tone of Messiah's 80 year old narrator, Eugene Luther. (Eugene Luther, incidentally, being Vidal's own unused other forenames.) I have to say I prefer the older, wiser Vidal to his austere and prolix earlier self. While I thoroughly enjoyed the prescient plot and scathing satire on religion, capit [...]

    • Bethia says:

      Eugene Luther looks back on fifty years of Cavesword and Cavesway, a religion founded as a bizarre death-over-life philosophy by John Cave and deftly sold to a worldwide audience by a savvy and corrupt publicist. Eugene Luther's unwitting and significant role as one of the founding Cavites begins with a writing assignment and dogs him throughout his life as he witnesses the ushering in of the Cavite era which ultimately invades every world government. Both briliant and disturbing, the first-pers [...]

    • Stuart says:

      This book is very smart, naturally, having been written by a very smart man. Sadly, it's nowhere near as emotionally compelling as its subject matter would lead you to believe it would be. Vidal's novel is short- just over two hundred pages- but it's lack of sympathetic or vibrant characters makes it an ironically slow read and it personally took me months to get through this book. Every time I picked it up, I found it gave me a lot to think about- but never once did I find myself turning pages [...]

    • Hussein Mackie says:

      Gore Vidal's Messiah provides an enthralling experience that requires one to dismantle much of our innate human conditioning to comprehend in its entirety. While the subject of death is often one that is considered taboo to reminisce, Vidal perpetuates its importance while obliging the reader to make an attempt to fathom how the doctrine of death could be applied in today's society. Vidal paints a beautiful picture that very well could occur, and after its publishing, seemingly has occured in th [...]

    • Patrick says:

      "I could have set the one-half world aflame for the sheer splendor and glory of the deed. For this fault my expiation has been long and my once exuberant pride is now only an ashen phoenix consumed by flames but not quite tumbled into dust, nor re-created in the millenial egg, only a gray shadow in the heart which the touch of a finger of windy fear will turn to dust and air."After the snake-oil salesman retires does s/he regret? Is he plagued with guilt? Does fatigue overwhelm the unatoned? The [...]

    • J. Dolan says:

      A thinly veiled parallel to the rise of Christianity showing how a powerful public-relations effort, staffed by the requisite missionaries and martyrs, can fashion a worldwide religion out of a simple cult of personality. It comes complete with an imbued messiah figure, his "holy" family, and a small if fanatical following of original disciples.I personally can't completely relate to people who can't relate to Mr. Vidal, so you might want to take this as less of a review than an encomium. I will [...]

    • NumberLord says:

      An interesting book. The messiah in the book is John Cave (nice initials, eh?). His message is simple: death is not bad, so don't sweat it. The book is supposed to be a tale about how this religion spreads (although, if it were rewritten today, it could be so much more poignant). Over time, however, the message goes from "death isn't so bad" to "death is good" and the religion starts setting up centers for euthanasia. Once John Cave decided to take "Cavesway", the remainder of the book kept remi [...]

    • Cearúil Swords says:

      I remember less about the mechanics of how this death cult becomes popular and more about the characters and their relationships to one another and the power plays that go on around the Messiah of the book. I enjoyed the world that Gore created and the nods to various historical precedents that I noticed as I read on. I guess this book and Kalki are rummaging around in the same chest of drawers so if you read one and like it you will probably enjoy the other. Probably Messiah pips it for me in t [...]

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