Interview Novena News : Alfred Eaker, author of ‘Brother Cobweb’: We, the laity, are the Church, not the hierarchy. It needs us prodigals.”
Brother Cobweb was released by Open Books Press this Easter. The novel revolves around a Midwestern Pentecostal church and family, but it is broader in its criticisms, reaching from the seeds of Mormon abuse out into Catholicism and its wider social structures.
His words contain such a direct and brutal message that it’s impossible to remain indifferent; you’ll feel the same raw energy and transforming power as a gaze from any of his painted portraits. Art at its best.
Advanced review for our novel, Brother Cobweb (Catherine Swan Reimer Ed.D., Counseling Psychologist, PhD)
Terrorists — usually thought of as enemies of a country — can also be found within families who have access to terrorize a helpless child daily…
As with his surreal and mystical paintings, Alfred Eaker’s Brother Cobweb portrays both the beauty and the horrifying distortion in the search for self-identity and purpose, all while having been deeply entangled in the swampy roots of a kitschy, hamburger-helper, “slut-for-Jesus” brand of Pentecostalism.
Alfred Eaker’s story is a harrowing tale of violence, abuse, lies, and conflict — yet it ends in hope. There is redemption: in art, beauty, friendship, love, and God, where, in the midst of sin and the wreckage of life, the light of grace pours abundantly through the cracks and crevices.
Artists have the uncanny ability to recognize the beauty in challenging and difficult life experiences. This is exactly what Alfred Eaker has done with this novel…
Opening with the ranting of a Pentecostal preacher into the mind of seven-year old Calvin Elkan, who in lieu of attention, creates art in a drawing pad as his derrière numbs atop a hard pew. A caricature of near monster features, Brother Cobweb is born, a minister of pseudo-satanic lunacy.
A tale of resiliency, reconciliation, and redemption, with plenty of ass-kicking and comeuppance along the way, Brother Cobweb is a powerful account of self-discovery that will resonate with readers long after the final pages . . .
By the end of Brother Cobweb, you have insight not only into what it means to be free of a religion you don’t need, but also what it feels like to find an actual spirituality that can carry you through.
No easy, happy endings to this well-told, fast-paced story about the role of “God” in freakish human experience. Eaker’s novel draws a complex picture of religion in which the Weird is graphically made flesh…
Look inside “Brother Cobweb,” the Novel
“Brother Cobweb” is now available through Open Books Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and all major bookshops and distributors. If you want to understand the seed of Trump’s America, travel back in time 50 years and witness firsthand those who empowered him; the religious right white Evangelicals who are in fact Christian in name only talibangelicals hell bent on a self-fulfilled apocalypse…
About Alfred Eaker:
Alfred Eaker is a prolific fine arts painter and muralist, an award-winning filmmaker and film critic, and a traditionally-published author. Following on the success of his debut novel, “Brother Cobweb,” Eaker is currently collaborating with Todd M. Coe on the related Graphic novel: “The Brother Cobweb Chronicles.” It will be available in the spring 2021. The audiobook version of Brother Cobweb is also being produced, and will soon be released too.
As an inquisitive American artist, he has always been deeply engaged in social, religious, and political climates. Eaker is currently working on a mural painting entitled “Elvis: An American Hymn.” Through it, Eaker is trying to bring affirming answers to issues of race, integration and hope so desperately needed at this moment in America.