Honk If You Are Jesus
Honk If You Are Jesus is a bestselling novel that resists categorisation, and explodes expectations. Keep your hand on the horn during this startling comic fiction.
I was once invited - once only - to deliver the after-dinner speech at the annual Christmas Dinner of the College.
The College: the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. My College.
I accepted immediately; later came the doubts. It was the first time the podium had been offered to a woman, there were bound to be muttering among the older Fellows. Women were still thin in the ranks of the College - still thin in the ranks of medical practice everywhere. This was some years ago, more years than I care to remember; the early seventies, or perhaps late sixties. The era of First Times For Women. First Woman in Space. First Woman Cabinet Minister. First Woman to Float a Combine Harvester across the English Channel.
All these - and worse - made headlines at the time.
In fact the invitation had nothing to do with affirmative action. It had to do with my notoriety - with the notoriety of my work. I spent weeks mulling over what to say. In the end I decided to let my work speak for itself. Christmas was closing fast, I wasn't about to talk shop. Something light-hearted, even irreverent, was called for. Colleagues could follow my work in the journals; with a slice of turkey breast or roast pork crackling they wanted nothing more than entertainment.
A few words on the most famous Birth of all seemed an amusing notion - a speech exploring the actual obstetrics of it.
The idea wasn't new, or not to me. At times I'd wondered, imagining that scene in a stable, two thousand years ago; what if something had gone wrong?
Of course such thoughts come naturally to me - as a woman, yes, but more so as a physician. The work habits of a lifetime, the thinking patterns of a lifetime - even my middle-sized lifetime, so far - are not easily shed. The nativity scenes that fill shop windows and church porches every Christmas beg for closer scrutiny. List of Risk Factors spring to mind, probably complications.
One; the patient was primigravid - a first-time mother.
Two: she was malnourished, surely, and infested with the usual Third World zoo of protozoans, worms, parasites.
Three; she was attended by...a carpenter!
And the surrounds? Don't give me Quaint, Humble, Picturesque. There would have been rats: Rattus rattus, black rat, plague carrier. There would have been roaches. Lice. Hay, filth, dung...
'A wickedly funny mix of sci-fi, medical marvel, satire and romance which adds to the already towering reputation of Goldsworthy.'
Terry Sweetman, Courier Mail
'Goldsworthy has surpassed even the haunting Maestro with this superbly crafted jewel of a book. It is truly an extraordinary novel. Put it on your must read list.'
Avi Lavau, Who Weekly
'Subtly symphonic ... Dazzlingly imaginative ... it wouldn't surprise me if this novel came to share a place with books such as The Loved One or Brave New World.'
Les Murray, Sydney Review