The Gathering of the Aspects, by Paul-Michel Ratté (Cormorant, 350 pages, $18.95 paper), is also a potent mix: part horror story, part philosophical exploration, but perhaps most notably an indictment of organized religion and its consequences in the lives of those who lose themselves in it. By focusing on four people (an English professor, a prostitute, a TV evangelist, and a psychotic killer) whose lives intersect, the book illustrates in microcosm how much damage religion can do when taken to extremes, and how dangerous guilt can be-more dangerous often than "sin" itself. People want easy religion, "drive-thru forgiveness.a mainline connection to God, a plug-in to the Almighty." Overall, there is "is very little truth left in the whole of Christendom."
The book's title refers to a version of the apocalypse, the "gathering up of all the parts, all the aspects of Godhood that were shared with this planet." But so many have been corrupted that God might not be able to get enough of them together, and if the "Master cannot retrieve enough of the aspects.the Master will no longer be." The novel chronicles the final stages in this "gathering", which pitches the four main characters into a violent confrontation with themselves, their pasts, and the lives they have chosen to live. It is an intellectually stimulating and deeply disturbing book.