I found the culmination of the story “God Lives in St. Petersburg terribly interesting. Timothy is a missionary who has lost his faith in God. He has regular sexual relations with Sasha, a young man of undisclosed and possibly adolescent age. The story climaxes as Timothy is faced with a decision. He is offered a young girl’s hand in marriage. Susana’s mother tries to persuade Timothy to marry her daughter in hopes that she will have her opportunity to get away from their impoverished homeland.
The story ends with Timothy having sex with Susana. After he had sex with her, he said “God felt very close now” (32). We get the sense that sex with Susana was an experience that brought Timothy closer to God. I think this could serve as a critique of Christianity’s views on sexuality. Timothy feels horrible when he has sex with Sasha, but he feels justified in having sex with Susana because he feels that he is saving her. I think this is a very interesting justification by a character who is a religious man trying to have a closer relationship with God. Timothy’s actions make us think that sex with Sasha was wrong, but raping Susana was okay. “Even as Susana began to cry, Timothy could not turn around, afraid of missing what God would unveil to him, while outside, beyond the window, it began to rain” (32). Timothy seems to have a religious experience in this quote while Susana cries. Religion and rape, that is quite an interesting juxtaposition. It certainly had me thinking for a while.