Mother of God

Title: Mother of God
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: 1990
Pages: 336
ISBN13: 978-0671695064
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In retrospect, I see that this is a novel about a woman who wishes she were the Mother of God. When I wrote it, I was trying to understand how we live with irreconcilable longings—in this case, grace and desire.

This is a family story, and it is set in motion by the eruption something buried beneath two decades of life and lies by Sylvia and Arthur Adamski. Their youngest son, Stephen, is arrested for vandalizing a synagogue. When the local police, the Berkshire County prosecutors, and psychiatrists are frustrated by Stephen’s refusal to answer the charges, on the grounds that his kingdom is not of this world, the investigation turns to the past, and the abortive ambitions and misconceived desires that fuel Stephen’s increasingly tormented and violent bid for redemption.

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“Here is an intricately plotted, demanding, and deeply rewarding novel written with stylistic grace, a powerful narrative drive, and a deep theological concern. Is a young man who claims to be Jesus insane, or is he a prophet born out of time? Michael Downing has worked these questions into a family drama at times disturbing, at times funny, and always profound.”
—Richard Marius, author of Thomas More

“Downing has a sharp eye, a powerful style, and great psychological insight.”
Harvard Magazine

“Michael Downing understands how a family can be at once torn apart and bound together by madness. Mother of God is a harrowing account of disintegration and redemption, told with unflinching insight and great compassion, a psychological and literary accomplishment of remarkable distinction.”
—Paul Buttenwieser, author of Their Pride and Joy