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Book review – What In God’s Name by Simon Rich

| 3 October 2012 | Reply

Published by: Profile Books, through Allen & Unwin, rrp $27.99
Released: September 2012
Reviewed by Dani DeVille

God is the CEO of Heaven Inc, a vast corporation in the clouds comprising every department imaginable from Peacock Production to Gravity Control.  Having become disillusioned with mankind, his once favourite creation, God now spends the majority of his time drinking beer, watching NASCAR and assigning angels to the top priority job of reuniting Lynyrd Skynyrd.

In fact, God has not answered a prayer, or indeed looked at his dust-covered in-tray in years.  After all, why should he preoccupy himself with wars and famine when his popularity has been gradually waning? Some college professor, Richard Something-Or-Other, has even gone so far as to write a whole book about how he doesn’t even exist!  No, it’s time for God to pack it all in and pursue his life-long dream of opening an Asian-American fusion restaurant.  However, Craig and Eliza, two workaholic angels from the Department of Miracles, convince God to give the world another chance in exchange for answering a single prayer in God’s over-loaded in-tray. The only problem: The prayer involves hooking up Sam and Laura, arguably the two most awkward, socially inept and reclusive New Yorkers in history. With less than a month until the apocalypse, Craig and Eliza are going to have to pull out all the stops to close this job before the deadline…

Author, Simon Rich, was the youngest ever writer to have been employed by Saturday Night Live and credits the Central Synagogue Hebrew School for turning him into a comedy writer.  Rich’s style is in no way cynical or derisive, in fact the tone is remarkably positive considering the somewhat grim outlook for the human race. This gentle satire is well-considered with a humour reminiscent of Douglas Adams’ *Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy*.  Rich playfully explores various points of judeo-christian philosophy, bringing its the narrative into a modern context.

*What in God’s Name* is effortlessly humourous, thoroughly enjoyable and relatable, regardless of which side of the religious fence you sit on.

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Category: Book Reviews

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