At Books & Culture, Betty Smartt Carter’s “The Good Man Philip and the Scoundrel Pullman” is an amusing summary of Philip Pullman’s career, written as a semi-parody of the Grand Idea of his recent novel (The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ), in which twins named “Jesus” and “Christ” (so, one was Jewish and one was Greek, and one got a real name and one got a title?) get to embody the qualities that Philip Pullman does and doesn’t like, respectively, about the Jesus of the Bible.
I haven’t read Pullman’s latest, since I lost any appetite for Pullman after The Amber Spyglass
(the third volume of the His Dark Materials
trilogy), but one of the things I like about Carter’s parable is that it captures the sense of initial intrigue (mixed with a little uneasiness) that many readers experienced when starting His Dark Materials
, followed by disappointment as Pullman’s engaging writing style was overcome by his need to “preach” his particular beliefs about the church and God. It looks like that trend has only continued.