Lars Husum and his novel My Friend Jesus Christ
A wild and bizarre slapstick farce
This article is from 2010.
Given that My Friend Jesus Christ reads like a Dogme movie, you can’t help but feel Lars Husum’s time working as a dramaturge at Lars von Trier’s Copenhagen film production company Zentropa fed into his debut novel. ‘It’s not conscious, but I see your point,’ says Husum. ‘What the best Dogme films did well was to focus on stories about the human condition, doing it with humor, brutality and originality. My novel is comedy, tragedy, melodrama, religious drama and slapstick farce.’
It’s about a very bad boy named Niko who drives his sister to suicide before being visited by a big hairy biker who says he’s Jesus and is here to save the soul of the troubled youngster. Where did that wacky idea come from? ‘I wanted to write something that was wild, bizarre and unpredictable,’ says Husum. ‘I got the title before I had anything else, and I think the Jesus character represents all that, because you’re never told whether it’s Niko’s imagination, actually Jesus or just a biker calling himself Jesus. In Denmark, when we deal with religion it is often either very much pro or very much against. My novel is neither.’
Writing the book appears to have opened the creative floodgates for Husum. His next novel, I Am an Army, about young Danish soldiers, is out in October. Meanwhile, he’s writing two film scripts and a play about men dressing up as superheroes. ‘I never had the ambition of becoming a writer. I still have the feeling that it’s just something that happened.’
Peppers Theatre, 0845 373 5888, 18 Aug (with Alan Bissett), 8.30pm, £10 (£8).