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  • Published: 31 July 2013
  • ISBN: 9781446414514
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

The Book Against God

Now reissued in Vintage paperback alongside the Cape edition of Wood's new novel Upstate – 'Highly intelligent... This is a book that I shall certainly reread, for its comic realism, its warm intelligence, its lack of pretension' A. N. Wilson, Daily Telegraph

Thomas Bunting, charming, chaotic, and deeply untruthful, is in despair. His marriage is disintegrating, and his academic career is in ruins: instead of completing his philosophy PhD, 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 his father still works as a parish priest. Thomas hopes that 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.

  • Published: 31 July 2013
  • ISBN: 9781446414514
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 256

About the author

James Wood

James Wood has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 2007. In 2009, he won the National Magazine Award for reviews and criticism. He was the chief literary critic at the Guardian from 1992 to 1995, and a book critic at the New Republic from 1995 to 2007. He has published a number of books with Cape, including How Fiction Works, which has been translated into thirteen languages.

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Praise for The Book Against God

It is written with lovely, controlled precision. His descriptions deliver little aesthetic shock-charges of pleasure...There are delights of simple recognition-but there are also deeper emotional depth-charges

Sunday Telegraph

Striking...The Book Against God is a gifted and winning first novel, neatly knotted at the end


Thought-provoking and full of sharp-eyed observations of characters and places

Daily Mail

A work of skilful craftsmanship, which teasingly engages and disengages one's sympathies

The Economist

The novel simply thrums with an intellectual passion rarely seen in fiction these days


At once hilarious and haunting... It keeps your attention in every sentence

Bernard O'Donoghue, Irish Times

Spry and confident-by turns gravely comic and hilariously tragic

Sunday Herald