mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Breast-milk of Bloody Mary.

Rag & Bone: a Journey Among the World’s Holy Dead by Peter Manseau.

The first pleasing surprise about this book was that the author is exactly the opposite of condescending. Rather, he assumes that the readers have a basic working knowledge of a variety of world religions—you don’t need to be told what a stupa is, & discussions about the trouble Jesus’ foreskin might cause for the Catholic transubstantiation is something he can discuss without needing to explain all the jigsaw pieces individually. That alone makes me want to recommend the book. It is still a “we can find meaning in the rainbow human behavior!” book, but if you accept that for what it is, it is also a nice combination of some religious scholarship with a travel memoir. I picked it up because, well—a gentleman looking for the severed head of John the Baptist, or investigating Buddha’s tooth despite Tamil Tiger attacks? That is a fun time. Not to mention as I’ve been working on fleshing out the Church of Lux for my game, & though obviously nancy jay is going to echo mightily, I still need to stir in further ingredients. This had a lot of nice asides & details for me to nab. Like, can you imagine that I’d never heard of Mohammad’s space-horse, the buraq before? Manseau is on his game, isn’t weirdly bigoted—there isn’t fetishization anywhere to be found—& knows how to make writing interesting. Quick & pop, but not pretending to be anything other.
Tags: books

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