Sep 272021

No, of course you haven’t because Jerusalem is 1,266 pages long. It sits like a brick on your bookshelf, and not a small brick that you make houses with. No, this brick has mass. This brick will never move. It is less of a brick and more of a cornerstone for the rest of your books to rest on.

But I did read Jerusalem by Alan Moore and I am here to tell you, it is worth the read. The story takes place across different parts of time in the town of Northhampton, England. When I say different parts of time, I mean up and down history ranging from Roman to the near future. There is a lot of characters in this story and a lot of moving parts. The characters range from small children to angels to artists to immigrants to sex workers to demons and many more.

If that is not intimidating enough, did I mention that the book is non-linear? Chapters skip around across time and some of the more metaphysical characters don’t see time the way we do. The middle of the book is thankfully mostly linear but you know, mostly.

And I haven’t even mentioned the chapters told from stream of conscious. Or the chapter done in the style of James Joyce. Some of the point of views aren’t sane and you are right there in their heads with them. One of the chapters was so obtuse I had to go online and get a translation of it.

So yeah, it is not an easy book to read but it is an adventure to read. It is an interesting experience. Every chapter feels like a victory. My wife was sick of me telling her about the difficulties involved. It is the kind of book that you feel proud of going through, and then look at other books with their mundane linear use of language as sort of lazy.

But what is the book about? Technically it is about powerful beings trying to manipulate events to bring about another messiah figure, but it is also the story of an abrasive artist, her adorable boring brother and their weird family that tends to get visions and sent to the madhouse. It is also the story of how one town creates an near perpetual cycle of per-destination for the people who live there.

The plot aside, I also think this might be the best book I have ever read that explains how poverty is a black hole that is nigh-impossible to escape. Here in America, most people see being poor as a personal defect. That has changed has recently but that prejudice still lingers. Moore shows over and over again without explicitly saying that being poor is about having your choices taken away and that is by design. It is a destiny that is forced upon people and their children and this is unbearably cruel. I feel like I understand economic disparity on an entirely different level now as well as the call to action to do something about it.

Which makes Jerusalem one of the more enjoyable books I have as read, as well as the most important.

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