When I first got The Call in the mail, I was a bit intimidated. Although the book is small, it is pretty thick and reminded me of a brick. When I thumbed through it and saw that it had no chapters, I was again concerned. However, the book is split into parts. Three of them.
Part one is roughly 100 pages and tells the story of Ishmael O’Donnell, the main character, growing up. He had a twin brother, Isaac, but he passed away when he was young. This had a lasting effect on Ishmael. Ishmael ends up receiving “the call” and goes to seminary school – which is what part two is about. I made it through part 1 quickly, anxious to figure out what would be happening with Ishmael.
In Part two we go to Seminary with Ishmael and meet some interesting characters, to say the least. It seems that although Ishmael believes that he has found “the call” the parishioners seem to think otherwise. He got a few letters from the head of the seminary saying that he needs to work harder and they weren’t really nice letter either. But Ishmael sticks with it, even missing holidays with his family. (Which hurt his mother greatly as he is now all she has)
We also learn that Ishmael’s father has had an affair, which had led to a child. He had a paternity suit done and so Ishmael has a half brother. His father wants nothing to do with the child but Ishmael’s mother wants to bring some child support to the family and sends Ishmael to deliver it. When he arrives he is introduced to his new half brother – Isaac!
This book was really interesting, once I got over the initial intimidation and fact that I had no chapters to stop at. The characters were really interesting and kept me drawn to the story.
About the Book
Satire and the supernatural blend together in this humorous but disturbing account of divinity and the people who are drawn to answering the call to ministry.
The story is conveyed in the first person through the eyes of Ishmael O’Donnell, an observant young man who wrestles with familial dysfunction, possession by the spirit of his long-dead twin brother, and a quest for purification from both.
The book chronicles the events that lead up to his seeking out seminary as a means of attaining this purification. Upon his arrival at seminary nd his three-year journey through the curriculum, he finds himself engulfed in an unending torrent of duplicity, impertinence and societal abnormalities within a communal setting of characters so driven, tenacious, over-the-top and supercilious, it hurts.
The mocking inner voice of Ishmael’s twin reverberates louder and louder as he desperately tries to come to grips with what is taking place about him, while discovering who he is within the confines of a cloistered setting he finds to be inundated with its own unique form of madness.
And when he finally does obtain the key to his purification… but such things are not revealed second hand.
You can read the prologue of the book at the author’s website: