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The Second Coming Paperback – 2 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (2 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099535521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099535522
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 187,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Believe me, this book is going to cause one almighty stink...Deeply, intelligently satirical. In lesser hands it could easily have become a crass rant. Yet Niven provides hilarious, perceptive entertainment...Only the truly ignorant will take offence. But then they usually do" (Henry Sutton The Mirror, Book of the Week ****)

"An entertaining novel...In the midst of it all, there is compassion, and insight into the way the impulse for truth can lead to dark acts indeed... Bloody funny" (Independent on Sunday)

"Consistently entertaining...Behind all the curses and the gags, orthodoxy reigns in Niven's MTV-style gospel as Jesus battles oppression, hypocrisy and the satanic forces of Simon Cowell - sorry, "Steven Stelfox". Consistently funny and smart...Trendy vicars might even consider distributing it after their Easter sermons" (Boyd Tonkin Independent)

"John Niven tore the music industry apart with his coruscating debut novel and now he's back again, along with Kill Your Friends obscene anti-hero Steven Stelfox, to get stuck into religion and celebrity culture... the story rattles along at a breakneck speed, delivering wonderful abuse at all and sundry" (The Big Issue)

"A humorous, quirky take on what Jesus would do, think and be if he was on Earth today" (Bookbag)

Book Description

The Son of God is back on Earth and starring on American Pop Star...

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
God comes back from his fishing holiday to find that since he's been gone (a few days in Heaven but centuries on Earth) things have gone badly. Looking at what he's missed, He particularly doesn't like the 20th century. God makes up his mind to send Jesus back down to Earth to remind everyone of his one and only rule - "Be Nice" - a rule that Moses decided to ignore and come up with 10 of his own.

Down on Earth, Jesus is 31 years old, in a band, something of a stoner, and being nice to everyone. And then one day "American Pop Star" starts looking for new contestants and Jesus decides to audition. What better way to tell people to "Be Nice" than on the platform of the biggest show on television? After getting accepted, there's a road trip to LA, the rise of Jesus as a music phenomenon, and the inevitable ending...

There was so much I liked about this book. First off, while the opening chapters in Heaven might seem a bit too cartoonish, John Niven quickly establishes strong characters in God and Jesus, the biting dialogue shooting back and forth. Then the dinner in Hell with the Devil was an utterly marvellous scene, the Devil being a superb character in Niven's hands, I would've liked to have seen more of him. You can tell Niven had a fun time populating Hell with some of humanity's latest horrors, now deceased. What he has Hitler doing is especially funny but not as brutal as some of the KKK members or hypocritical Christians.

Speaking of excellent characters, Jesus goes from being a Bill-and-Ted-type stoner to a more rounded person as the chapters fly by and I ended up really liking him. He's funny, well grounded, and is basically a good dude. Niven doesn't have him be overly preachy, or overly good, just be a decent person.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ultimatebattlerampager on 12 Aug. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This isn't my favourite John Niven book but it's still an extremely entertaining read. As a bit of an atheist, I found God and JC's views on Christians very funny. I loved the exchange between JC and Pastor Glass on the subject (that poor pastor's in for a rough time in the afterlife).

There are a few plot holes that I would have loved to have seen develop more. For instance, after the talent show and the build up about the presence of the fantastically resurrected character of Steven Stelfox from Kill Your Friends, Stelfox all but disappears and all we hear of him again are a couple of titbits at the end of the book; and Satan was so wasted as he was so entertaining at the beginning.

That said, the book thunders along and I found it hard to put down. If you've ever received any sort of religious education, you'll know how it ends but the social commentary is the focus of this book's message and the vehicle of this story was perfect for it.

Definitely worth a read!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Borges on 29 July 2011
Format: Paperback
A short, sweet read.

I'd never read John Niven's books before this one and going by the more negative reviews this may have been a good thing.
I have to say i really enjoyed this book. I read it on holiday and passed it on to my girlfriend who really enjoyed it too.
Yes, it lost its way here and there and we could debate whether the ending had to be so inevitable. But, the good definitely outweighed the bad in my opinion. It was touching and very funny in equal measure and even the 'inevitable end', for me, was excellent.
Can't help thinking that this would make a great movie too!!!

Enjoy it, but don't take it too seriously.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sebster on 23 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
I could write a whole essay about why I love this book, but we're on the internet so I'll keep it brief.

1. I've never laughed out loud as much as I have reading this book. It probably helps if you have a decent understanding of religion and the bible. Some of the humour could be considered fairly crude but I found it very fitting.

2. There is some brutally honest and true social critique in the book. It really made me think.

3. I've never had a physical and psychological reaction to reading a scene in a book like I did, when Jesus performs his song with the "big black kid". I would pay money to have the memory of reading it erased, so I could again have the experience of reading it for the first time!

4. The simple message of "be nice" and the more likeable version of God (and Muhammad) have rekindled my dying belief in God. I now really hope there is a God and that he is something like the God in this book. My dad died when I was 12. Seeing him again would be... heavenly.

It makes me sad that a book like this doesn't get more attention. The explanation may be that you need a certain level of (religious) education, free thinking and sense of humour in order to see why the book is so outstanding. The combination of those qualities seems rare.

Thank You John Niven!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T-bone on 26 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I was a little surprised to see some very negative reviews of this book, but then I guess any book that features characters such as Jesus, God etc will provoke a response of some kind in some people!

I really enjoyed this though, I read it through in one sitting and I loved every minute of it.
Despite being an atheist, bizarrely I actually found this book almost spiritual at times - bizarre, for a comedy novel but there you go. I would much rather there were a god like the one in this story than of some depictions oh him!

I often find that when a book is described as being "laugh at loud funny" it tends to leave me cold. This, however was a clear exception, and had me laughing out loud on several occasions.

The story starts in heaven, with god returning from a fishing holiday and being dismayed at the state of the world upon his return.
Deciding against wiping out the entire planet he instead opts to send Jesus Christ (known as "JC") back to Earth to spread the message of "be nice".
Cut to part two and JC is living in New York, generally being a good guy, scraping by and playing in a band.
JC is persuaded to audition for American Popstar, as a platform to spread his message.

The book is generally funny, but also has moments of more serious or thought provoking ideas too.
I have not read any of this authours previous work (although I will be doing now), so was not aware that one of the characters had previously featured elsewhere. This was certainly not a problem, and I wouldn't have known unless I had read the other reviews, so no one need let that put them off.

All in all I found this to be an intelligent, thought provoking and very funny novel, one that I heartily recommend.
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