God and Devil World by Marilynne Robinson
If you want to read a story with powerful characters, that has the ability to make you think and feel, a book by Marilynne Robinson called God and Devil World is the book for you. In this world of mystery and intrigue, you can find a compelling story filled with love, religion, war, a good dose of humour and the challenge of defeating evil.
God and Devil World are told from the perspectives of a young girl named Sarah in order to bring home some of the reality of her lives and what her father, Colonel Frank Cook, has been dealing with. Her father is an international terrorist and she is unwittingly caught up in his activities while trying to find a way to find peace and safety for herself and her siblings.
The three main characters in God and Devil World are Eddy Rockwell, who are the Colonel’s right hand man; Dorian “Dorian” Harris, a former undercover operative; and Mike “Mike” Campbell, the Colonel’s youngest son. They have all gone through an intense stage of the training and whilst they are still young, they are having to battle against each other as well as to find their identity. In addition, they are going to need each other if they are going to survive the challenges and horrors of their respective worlds.
The whole setting is set in a place that is reminiscent of ‘how the soldiers see war’ and it makes them feel like they are ‘in the thick of it’. In the opening scene, Sarah wakes up in a hospital being treated for the injuries that Dorian has caused. With the family in the background and the reader in the front seat, Sarah looks over at Dorian who is holding her on his lap and tries to get out of bed but finds that she cannot move at all.
He then tells her about the day’s events and when Sarah says that she has to write an essay for school, he suggests that they go for a walk together. It is this sort of thing that makes the reader interested in the characters and why they are so different. This is not only evident in their different ways of speaking but also their diverse way of living and their willingness to face their fears and to accept the challenge of facing their enemies head on.
As you progress through the story, Dorian and Mike become more concerned about the terrorists’ activities in the town, while Dorian is also desperate to learn what his daughter is doing. He begins to realise that while Sarah is “living her life”, he is becoming increasingly “dead”.
In God and Devil World, the author uses some interesting psychological concepts to show how these two different individuals would react to the same situation. Their different ways of thinking and moving around in their shoes tells us much about them. This allows for a truly unique and fascinating story that is told from two different points of view.
There is something very interesting about the concept of God and Devil World and this is because it shows just how far the society can be pushed. We could not imagine that anyone could force someone to do anything, but this book makes us wonder just how far that limit could be stretched. As far as I am concerned, this book is definitely a must read.