The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson

STATUS: Should have put down.

This book is the reason I follow the 100-page rule.  I know that this novel was longlisted for the Man Booker back in 2006, but – goodness – it is exceptionally dry.  Dryer than sun-dried tomatoes and far less tasty.  Dryer than a desert and far less lively.  Dryer than sarcasm and far less entertaining.  It was a great struggle to get to the end.  Upon completing it (after an exceptionally long epilogue) I considered my time wasted and I fell into a slight, short-lived melancholy.  How can a book, openly influenced by the brilliant “Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner” be so exceptionally dull?  The promise of a dark, atheist vicar in a quiet Scottish village that meets the Devil was too much for me to resist.  And yet, from page-to-page, this dark, atheist vicar becomes more and more boring, uninspired and supercilious.  Gideon Mack is, without any shadow of doubt, the biggest let down of a character I have ever come across.  I wanted subtle, wicked drama and I got an overtly plain and colossally wasted opportunity.  Even when Rev. Mack goes into the hidden cave of a mysterious, eccentric stranger, the cave replete with a secret passage to burning pit of fire, his reaction is tantamount to spotting a robin out of winter time.  Oh, and to top it all off, Gideon also runs.  For pleasure.  The dark, atheist vicar that meets the Devil enjoys long-distance running.  I mean… No.  This is not on.  This is not the pastime of a villain.  Robertson’s concept was enthralling; but the result was a mammoth waste of time.  I was not impressed and I remain nonplussed.

0.5 out of 5

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