Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Review Wednesday – Dialogue with the Devil

"You can call me whatever you want; a self-deluded fool, a Christian, a madman, a classic case of paranoia with schizophrenic tendencies, a visionary or even a prophet of utter magnitude that can pierce through the heart of understanding."

Stephen Biro used to be an atheist until he found God after having been deceived by the Devil.  This whole experience was recorded in his first book, Hellucination.  In Dialogue with the Devil, Stephen recounts his second encounter with the Devil, a meeting through which Satan tried to get him back on his team by revealing the truth of our world.

It would be easy to scoff at the content of this book and deem its content the rambling divagations of an addled brain.  That would be unfortunate however, and quite beside the point because Biro, whether his experience was real or pure fantasy, addresses, through the voice of the Devil, many of the plagues that have befell our society and continue to thrive thanks to our inertia.  His observations on television, the love for money, the almost religious nature of fame worship and the omnipresence of technology as a form of distraction are dead on.  In this social commentary, the author shows the readers what has been there for them to see all along with little hope of them acting upon this new knowledge.  Unfortunately, one can't help but know that he is right.  It only takes a quick look at the news and the world outside to feel that we may well be on our way to the "apocalypse" if nothing is done.  And according to Biro's Devil, it's already too late.

Dialogue with the Devil is a well-written  book with a very accessible format, which is a blessing as the content would suffer were the readers to be distracted by the writing.  The book is a bit destabilizing at first, as its content is not necessarily organized in a linear way – the Devil speaks about what he pleases in the order he pleases – but a pattern soon emerges and before long, the reader is taken with the narrative (I must confess I read it in one sitting.)  The book contains a lot of vulgar language, but such a way of speaking is to be expected from the Devil himself; it doesn't hinder the reading, quite the contrary.  Biro, as a main character, is easy to relate to, especially because of his feeling of helplessness but also because of his resilience and his strong faith.  One can't help but feel his distress as he is put through this ordeal.

Dialogue with the Devil is an excellent book, and I think that regardless of your religious beliefs, it should be added to your reading list.  It's often shocking, but we all need to be taken out of our comfort zone. 


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