Jesus Swept: 04/21/09
I read and enjoyed Jesus Swept by James Protzman during the Easter weekend. It was the perfect antidote to the all the cute bunnies and religious well wishing. The novel tracks the events of an almost miracle and almost second coming in North Carolina. Centered around the almost miracle is an ancient bracelet, three young men (who take turns being Jesus) and the woman who finds the bracelet and tries to make the miracle happen.
The narrative is told in short snippets moving from different characters, not always being where I wanted the story to be. There are the street sweepers: Gary, Luke and Mark. Gary, the novel implies is the second coming of Jesus except that Gary doesn't believe it and is perfectly willing to share the job around with Luke and Mark. Then there are Liz and her husband. Liz has the bracelet for most of the book. There is Hook and Sinker (I kept waiting for Line to show up) a sister and brother pair who have a hand in the miracle too, although they don't see it that way. There are a handful of other colorful characters who make up this tale of "Do Good, Be Nice, Have Fun."
The goofy matter-of-factness to Jesus Swept reminds me favorably of Christopher Moore's books. Although I'm a fan of Moore's novels (especially the ones set in Pine Cove), I liked Jesus Swept more than I did Lamb. I like it more because Protzman keeps the story short. The novel makes its point, tells its jokes and then ends before there's a chance for rambling tangents.
There's also a hint of Dogma and Oh God! too. I suppose I would remise if I neglected my favorite character: Ho Dog. She shows up around the midway point and offers advice but doesn't tamper too much in the overall miracle.
The author information on the back of the book mentions a second novel in the works, Plaid. I'm looking forward to it.
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Thanks for the wonderful review. You're the first person who has the same favorite character as I do. (By the way, I'm bringing Dog back in Plaid, which is already proving to be great fun.)
Thank you again for such a clear and thoughtful review.
Do good. Be nice. Have fun!