“Demon: A Memoir” Book Review

This month’s book selection is a bit darker than those I’ve reviewed in the past.  It’s entitled “Demon: A Memoir”, by Tosca Lee.

Tosca Lee graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts, completing a degree in English and Literature and in International Relations in 3 1/2 years.  She later spent time at Oxford studying economics, and currently works as a consultant for the Gallup Organization.  How she finds time to turn out novels on top of working for such a large company is beyond me, but write them she does.  “Demon: A Memoir” was the first fiction book that she published.  It came out several years ago but is set for re-release this summer.  Shortly following will be her 3rd novel – Iscariot.

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One night changes everything.

Recently divorced and mired in a meaningless existence, Clay drifts from his drab apartment to his equally lusterless job as an editor for a small Boston press – until the night Lucian finds him and everything changes with the simple words, “I’m going to tell you my story, and you’re going to write it down and publish it.”

What begins as a mystery soon spirals into chaotic obsession as Clay struggles to piece together Lucian’s dark tale of love, ambition, and grace – only to discover that the demon’s story has become his own.

And then only one thing matters: learning how the story ends.

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Tosca Lee describes the premise of this book in her own words: “One day… I realized that being angelic and fallen was very similar to being human and fallen – except for one major difference: the provision of a messiah.  I immediately wondered what it must feel like to be unquestionably damned – and worse, to watch humans luxuriate in and take for granted the grace made available to them from a doting God.  And I thought: Why wouldn’t a fallen angelic creation resent a human recipient of God’s grace?  And why wouldn’t a demon want to prove that creature unworthy again and again as a result?  Now I knew what it must feel like to be an angelic outsider looking in with jealous eyes and… through this new lens “Demon: A Memoir” was born.”

I couldn’t help but compare this book to C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters”.  Only instead of a collection of letters from one demon to another, this was the story of a man’s conversations and encounters with something truly evil disguised as a harmless human being.  It was unsettling, thought provoking, and left me feeling strangely bereft of hope.  The ending was unsatisfying, but I believe this was what the author intended.  I think that she purposely leaves you hanging so that you can answer certain questions for yourself.  Questions about what things are true, what life is for, how we’re supposed to live, and what’s most important.  Don’t misunderstand me – this is a good book.  It’s just different from my normal reading style.  If you read it, you’ll see what I mean.

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