Author Tosca Lee's novel Demon: A Memoir tells the story of Clay, a recently-divorced editor who has become disillusioned with his job and life in general. One evening when he arrives at a cafe for dinner, a stranger greets him by name and welcomes him to join him at his table. In fact, this stranger seems to know more about Clay than Clay himself does:
"I know you're searching, Clay. I know you're wondering what these late, dark nights are for. You have that seasonal disease, that modern ailment, don't you? SAD, they call it. But it isn't the disorder--you should know that. It isn't even your divorce. That's not what's bothering you. Not really." (page 4)
The stranger introduces himself as Lucian. Lucian is a demon. He wants to tell Clay his story, because it is "very closely connected" to Clay's. Clay is instructed to write down everything that Lucian tells him.
Over the course of several months and various encounters in which Lucian appears in different human forms (sometimes male, sometimes female), Clay learns the story of the demons' fall from glory and how they have sought revenge on God ever since by corrupting God's favored people: human beings. The demons despise all humans because they sin constantly but God still forgives them, despite the fact that the demons were eternally damned after making a single mistake. However, Clay still cannot see how the story connects with his own life, even though it is quite obvious to the reader. He is essentially blind, and that blindness just may seal his fate in the end.
One thing I enjoyed about reading this book is the beauty of Ms. Lee's prose. Her style flows easily and creates some vivid imagery that I found moving:
"But here was the most terrible thing: El went down to Eden and laid himself out over the waters, there to brood in trembling sorrow. And it infused me, this sorrow. It saturated my being. Beside me, seraphim huddled with long faces. Some of them wept. I had never seen such tears before--dark, remorseful, bereft of joy. There was only sadness and dread, that terrible sense that had I been a god, I would have set it all back. I would have erased everything, returned it all to the way it had been."
"Why couldn't you?" I said. "For that matter, why couldn't God?"
The kid gave a jolt of laughter that sounded slightly hysterical, and then his lips curled back from his teeth, and spittle flew out with his words. "I'll tell you why: Because we were damned! Oh, not that I knew it then--how could I? There was no precedent for any of it. Wrong had never existed. Lucifer had to manufacture that first aberration himself. Until then, there had been one law dictated by the sole fact of our creation: Worship the creator. And now, as surely as Lucifer's throne had broken into a thousand splinters, we had violated that order." (page 57)
As much as one may feel sorry for the demons, Ms. Lee does not diminish the fact of their true nature: they are evil. And through the grace of God, we humans have the opportunity for the redemption to which the demons have been denied.