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What In God's Name Paperback – 16 Aug 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (16 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846688485
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846688485
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 817,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Praise for WIGN:

Divinely funny

(Vanity Fair 2012-07-01)

Deliciously funny (Kirkus 2012-07-31)

one of the funniest writers in America . . . Rich evokes enough of the hellish qualities of Earth (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Walmart, a screenplay for Finnegans Wake) and of the little things that we'll miss (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Walmart, a screenplay for Finnegans Wake) that it feels like a little love letter to the world. Thanks, life. Good of you to let me drop by. (Daily Beast 2012-08-01)

Truly hilarious (Eva Wiseman Observer 2012-08-05)

A light, amusing and readable book with a very modern take on the afterlife. (We Love This Book)

hilarious and touching . . . rest assured that you're in good hands here...obviously Rich is crazy good at hysterical sharp dialogue. But the bonus here is that his head is matched by his heart. Rich lends the potentially gimmicky story real emotional heft and avoids condescending to his characters (or readers). At its best, WHAT IN GOD'S NAME reads like a screenplay for a film that might sit comfortably beside Woody Allen's early absurd works in a Netflix queue . . . a clever, endearing novel. (Entertainment Weekly 2012-08-09)

Elliot Allagash, drew comparisons to Evelyn Waugh and P. G. Wodehouse. His new novel, What in God's Name, evokes another titan of English comedy: Douglas Adams. . . Funny and occasionally touching, What in God's Name is satire that avoids sanctimony . . . Rich knows how to balance the smart with the funny. When What in God's Name bares its teeth, it's because it's laughing. (Patrick Cassels New York Times 2012-08-03)

This depiction of the Almighty as an affable-but-oblivious overgrown frat boy probably isn't what you'd expect, especially if you happen to belong to a religion in which God does not use profanity and refer to "Free Bird" as his "jam." But that's the beauty of WHAT IN GOD'S NAME . . . it's as unpredictable as it is funny, and it's one of the best American comic novels of the past few years . . . Not too many authors could pull off a plot this gleefully absurd, but Rich mostly keeps a straight face throughout - like any great comedian, he's committed to the joke, and he doesn't break. His vision of heaven is both original and hilarious . . . the most amazing thing about WHAT IN GOD'S NAME is its unrelenting sweetness . . . The young author has an obvious affection for the underdog, and a soft spot for those who work hard at what they do. It's that sensibility that makes WHAT IN GOD'S NAME a near-perfect work of humor writing - strikingly original, edgy but compassionate, and most importantly, deeply hilarious. (Michael Schaub NPR.org 2012-08-08)

A romcom with Armageddon hanging in the balance, it's written with a lightness of touch that makes it a breezy read (Alastair Mabbott Glasgow Herald 2012-08-25)

Sweetly funny and moving (Kate Tuttle Boston Sunday Globe 2012-08-19)

Rich's play on office politics and his understanding of the comic potential of human relationships is accurate enough, producing an appealing mixture of subtle and laugh-out-loud funny. (Independent on Sunday 2012-09-09)

The super-funny Simon Rich . . . a literary romcom . . . Properly laugh-out-loud funny and sweetly charming. You'll be rooting for the angels to save the world. (Heat 2012-09-15)

Rich has a gently clever comic style . . . ideal material for a feel-good rom-com movie . . . God getting the best laughs, and the dialogue crackles along. It is the nearest I have read in a while to the spirit of the best screenplays of the late, great Nora Ephron, and there are few better compliments than that (David Herman Jewish Chronicle 2012-09-28)

Totally hilarious satire (Cooler 2012-10-01)

Funny and inventive (David Evans FT 2012-10-27)

Book Description

How can you help mankind, when they won't help themselves? Welcome to Heaven Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Sep 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Heaven Inc is a big company and God is its CEO. He's an ideas man who spends most of his day in his swanky office watching baseball and NASCAR. His Angels spend their time arranging miracles where they nudge small details of life to try to make humans end up with happy results. They are able to watch any episode of history from multiple angles and therefore spend their time fascinated by the love lives of Americans. Africa gets two mentions - Nigerian e-mail scammers and a Tanzanian farmer whose horse explodes (no cities and tractors in Africa), and Asia is a type of food. The Angels all speak English but no worries if they want to look at someone in Europe - there are subtitles available. The technology available to the Angels is that of the present day, although there is a mention that before e-mails Heaven ran on faxes. So nothing terribly eternal here. And God and Heaven are venal.

At first, this really grates. It feels as though Simon Rich believes he lives in the ultimate country with the ultimate culture and the ultimate technology. Sure, he mocks his own society by making God look superficial, but at heart it is still as sense of mocking perfection. But bear with it and there is a story underneath of trying to use miracles to get two humans to love each other. OK, it's not much but it is better than nothing. And because the novel is so short, it doesn't particularly outstay its welcome. It's light, it's fluff and it passes the time. But there's nothing deep. No real hidden message - although if you wanted to stretch a point you might try to say it shows how miraculous it can be to find a life partner. There are no real insights into humankind or spirituality. And it is gratingly mono-cultural.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. R. L. A. Amelan VINE VOICE on 17 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"What in God's Name" is a book that poses particular difficulties for a reviewer. It is a blend of comedy and romance on a topic that can be truly emotive. Once I had closed it finally, I must confess that I had pigeon holed it under "divine chick lit".

The "Holy City" portrayed in this book is one where angels work in an office building with departments for both prayers and miracles; they also sit at computer screens seeing whether they can intervene for the benefit of mankind, often in quite trivial ways. Presiding over this is a God who is now bored with his role and watches the television religion channels whilst the prayer requests pile up in a corner totally answered.

Down in the Department of Miracles there are two angels, Craig and Eliza. They take their work very seriously and Eliza is very shocked to find out about God's disenchantment and disengagement from his job. She challenges him and he sees her point. He decides to have done with man and open an Asian Fusion restaurant. The two angels request a reprieve and he agrees that he will defer Armageddon if they can answer one prayer for him; they choose to engineer things so that two mortals fall in love.

Naturally, all ends happily and you can then continue to enjoy your day on the beach, as this is where this book truly belongs - by the deck chair and the long cool drink. The plot is trivial in nature and the characters a little drab and rather uninspiring to the point when I could cheerfully have slapped those unmotivated mortals who feel that living limited lives is acceptable. All that sending out for takeaways does nothing for me and merely made our hero fat until, that is, he gets a catastrophic stomach upset courtesy of an angel. Now, that was much better!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 9 July 2013
Format: Paperback
I can't understand the mixed reviews this seems to have. I reckon it's a real find - a joy; it made me laugh out loud and I loved the way it was done - clever, sharp and original. Highly recommended!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bela Lugosi's Dad VINE VOICE on 17 May 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Writing comic fiction is hard, reading it is sometimes harder. I started Simon Rich's slender tome with a sense of trepidation, realising that I would be done in about an hour and possibly left with the same sort of pointlessly pigged-out feeling I get from scoffing a whole bumper bag of Revels in front of some terrible horror DVD. I needn't have worried, the Gospel According To Simon Rich is a total hoot from start to finish.
You want snappy dialogue? You got it.
Lashings of super-smart satire? Check.
A bit of a love story (not too mushy,mind!) going on at the side? Affirmative.
Will it offend your God-bothering grandma? Well...
I'm a religious sort of guy myself - I run my own cult (mainly for tax reasons)and I've predicted the world to end in a ball of flame on the 9th of June 2027, at about 4.15 in the PM - and I didn't take the teensiest bit of umbrage at the depiction of God Our Father as the CEO of a company which is running all the more efficiently without his active involvement. You've got be able to laugh at yourself, right? I shop for Cheerios at the all night Asda wearing my second best crown of thorns and you should see some of the looks I get. It's true what they say about a prophet never being recognised in his home town. At least I don't have to wear a funny green uniform - I CHOOSE to wear it, okay? I look gosh-darn good in green,a bit like Robin Hood in actual fact. Any of youse got a problem with that?
Another day gone, another day nearer our fiery end....Enjoy the book, my children.
And repent! Before it's too late!
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