The Verger by Melker Garay

Author(s): Melker Garay
Publisher: Norlén & Slottner
Year of Publication: 2014
Number of Pages: 156
Genre: Theology
The Verger (Amazon UK) | The Verger (Amazon US)

The uncle of Melker Garay was a verger (an official in a church who acts as a caretaker and attendant) whose life had abruptly ended after he fell from the roof of the church almost two years before this book was written. He was a reserved man who didn’t create much of a stir while he lived. Things might have stayed that way if it hadn’t been for a number of old rolls of wallpaper he left behind. It transpired that these rolls made up a small archive. When they were unrolled, on the back of the wallpaper Garay discovered lots of handwritten notes, largely written in the form of dialogue. His reflections seemed to have occupied an unusually large space in his thoughts.

Judging by his notes, he had a complicated relationship with God. Within him, he seems to have had two irreconcilable wills: one to blame God, the other to protect God. His opinion of theology was, on the other hand, less complicated. According to Garay’s uncle, the only explanation for theology having been able to survive through the ages may be the fact that God has a quality that is invaluable to theologians, namely that He is completely unfathomable. This quality, which theologians would presumably have discovered at an early stage in their investigations, is what one might call the salvation of theology.

There is also a discernible degree of humour in his notes. Be that as it may, in Garay’s uncle’s world of ideas there does seem to have been a couple of gentlemen, Melker and Thomas, who often turn up in his notes. However, it’s not clear to Melker Garay who they are, but it’s evident that these two men have had great influence over his theological aphorisms.

Fundamentally, this is a novel that in a different way brings up the doubt in faith and the will to find a sustainable image of God. Questions like ‘how come’ and ‘how can you know’ are central themes.


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