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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Author asks what if Abraham had not spared his son?

By Adam Wisnieski
Posted
MARISOL DÍAZ/THE RIVERDALE PRESS
MICHAEL GOLD talks about his new book ‘Suicide Sons’ at Palombo Bakery on Aug. 17.

 

What if Abraham had killed Isaac?

Riverdalian Michael Gold’s new novel Suicide Sons looks at an ancient religion that is based on an alternate ending to the binding of Isaac story from the Hebrew Bible.

When God asks Abraham to kill his son, instead of stopping him just before the slaying as depicted in the bible, Abraham kills Isaac.

The novel explores a question that has plagued humankind through history: Should people kill others in the name of religion?

Mr. Gold said he hopes his book will illustrate just how bonkers it is to do so.

“All this religious hatred really bothers me,” Mr. Gold, a 54-year-old elementary school teacher at PS 194 in the East Bronx said last week over coffee at Palombo Bakery on Riverdale Avenue.

He pulled out the day’s New York Times and pointed to a headline, “Taliban kill 22 in Pakistan.”

“It’s stuff like that. What is this? Because they believe in a different version of God than you do, they feel that they have the right to kill you? That’s what really disturbed me and motivated me to write the book,” he said.

When Mr. Gold visited Washington, D.C. years ago, he was inspired by one of the quotes emblazoned on the Jefferson Memorial that says no man should suffer on account of his religious beliefs.

“The whole issue of religious hatred, in a way, goes against this remark,” he said.

In Suicide Sons, released by independent publisher Silverthought Press on June 27, Mr. Gold created a fantasy world mabout the lives of two young New Yorkers who are members of made up-religions. The Zans believe in an origin story similar to the story of Abraham and Isaac (except for the ending), and they are at odds with the Kawitodians. 

Akeyde, a Zan, is pressured by his father and uncle to carry out a suicide bombing, but he’s not a killer. Meanwhile, Razvarr, a Kawitodian who recently immigrated to New York, harbors a grudge against the Kawitodian government and plans to bomb a Kawitodian temple in his home country.

The book is written in the first person, with chapters alternating between the two characters.  

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