Thomas Bunting, the charming, chaotic, and deeply untruthful narrator of James Wood's wonderful first novel, is in despair. His marriage is disintegrating and his academic career in is ruins: instead of completing his philosophy Ph.D (still unfinished after seven years), he is secretly writing what he hopes will be his masterwork, a vast atheistic project he has privately entitled 'The Book Against God'.
But when his father is suddenly taken ill Thomas returns home, to the tiny village in the north of England where he grew up, and where his father still works as a parish priest. Thomas hopes that at home he may finally be able to communicate honestly with his father, a brilliant and formidable Christian example, and sort out his wayward life. But Thomas is a chronic liar, as well as an atheist, and he finds, instead, that once at home he only falls back into the disastrous and evasive patterns of his childhood years.
James Wood's novel brings a new comic voice to British fiction - edgy, lyrical, intellectual and passionate. 'The Book Against God' explores questions of belief and unbelief, truth and lies, the relation of father and son, and husband wife, in a tone that is at once poignant and funny. Above all, it introduces readers to the irrepressible presence of its narrator, Thomas Bunting, liar, doubter and the strangest philosopher in contemporary fiction.