Book review: Death Has Come Up Into Our Windows, by Stant Litore

stantFor death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets.

Jeremiah 9:21

I’ll just say this at the outset. To simply categorize this series as a biblical narrative with the enemies of Israel transposed with zombies might be the verbal synopsis I give to someone whom I might think would like this, but it is so much more than that.

Anyone familiar with Jeremiah’s plight will know the schematic here, even if Litore takes certain liberties with a few things.  In reality, the libertarian license was taken the minute the undead were placed in the narrative in lieu of the Babylonians anyway, so really the question isn’t “is he going to take this license,” but “how far?”  And I personally think he stopped short of losing anyone who might be uncomfortable with an out-and-out departure.

Essentially, the prophet is tossed into a cistern, because no one really wants to hear the uncomfortable information he has to put out—a plague—an invasion is coming, and there are things you need to do to stop it. One of those things being the cessation of the horrific practice of child sacrifice to idols.  And this invasion, of course involves the walking dead.

As is the usual case with municipal authorities needing to make examples of supposed religious fanatics, they toss a zombie or two down into the muddy well with him, and listen to him struggle for supremacy in the mist of dehydration, hallucinations and dreams mixed with the prophetic as well as the nostalgic.

In this narrative Jeremiah has a wife—oddly enough, a character that probably never existed in real life, yet becomes the apex around all emotional investment I made into the story.  And believe me, for a simple 89 pages, the author had me invested in that relationship.

Two caveats for the conservative reader.  God is referred to in the feminine pronoun in this book, and while I was at first thrown by it, I managed to see a larger thought in this narrative; that a subtle, maternal side in the midst of a raging prairie fire of manhood, testosterone, and death would provide the gentleness to an Old testament God who gets a bad rap for something other.  I don’t feel the characterization was made to mollify some socio-political worldview, and the ultimate treatment of God and his non-changeability is actually held very high in the book. So for me, the 180 on the gender reference simply covers the gentleness and lilting touch of the Creator.

The other caveat would be what some reviewers have referred to as a “sex scene,” but really, it is more an implied conjugal moment between husband and wife.  There is no salacious material there, and quite frankly, Song of Solomon carries far more material than this moment provides. Somehow the sanctity and privacy of their marriage is kept intact, all the while letting you know they are bonding under the worst of human circumstances.

No spoilers here.  It’s a short book, but big on investing your mind and heart.  It’ll also drive to back to the primary source material, if you’re devout in any fashion.

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