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on 29 January 2000
God and Satan back for a visit, what would we do? How would we react? Would we beleive them? A great thought provoking book you can read again and again,a brilliant story.
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on 3 February 2014
With Peter Ustinov being extremely accomplished at everything he touched, actor, dramatist, screen designer, author etc, etc (the list of his talents is endless), I was expecting a good read, and I definitely wasn't disappointed. The story is about God (the Old Man) and the Devil (Mr. Smith) deciding to become mortal on earth for a while, whilst becoming re-acquainted with each other and 'burying the hatchet'. The story was funny, thought-provoking, and interesting, bringing into the equation some concepts of how, perhaps, this pair would be treated during their stay. Not too sure what genre I would put it in, as it has so many strings to it's bow.
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on 23 July 2009
I was never sure about Peter Ustinov. I remember him popping up every now again on television - usually in the guise of a raconteur. Then I read 'The Old Man and Mr. Smith'. A simple premise; God comes down to Earth to see how mankind is getting along. And he brings Satan with him; who is not evil - just a bit of a rascal (Satan is very shocked to hear about Stalin, who was so much worse than this devil ever believed man could become). A simple premise - excellently executed. There are moments of great humour, wonderful irony (the Indians who have far more faith than God himself - who consequently is humbled), and Ustinov refuses to let mankind off the hook - there's no blaming the devil for man's sins or relinquishing one's responsibility to the fate and God. God's a bit of bumbling old fool in this telling; reminiscent I thought of Slartibartfast - Douglas Adam's superb creation. I never understood, and still don't understand, why this book popped up with such frequency in remainder bookshops and in charity shops ... All I can add is, give it go ... yes, I loved it the first time (nearly 20 years ago) and just re-read it joyfully all over again. Definitely a forgotten classic.
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on 30 August 2013
There were moments of insight and flashes of the great raconteur at work but they were all too brief. Neither the divine nor the human condition was explored to any degree but, perhaps that wasn’t the point. It was a wonderful idea that surprisingly failed, consistently, to achieve the comic heights of its marvellous author. But then, what do I know?
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on 27 September 2014
Very funny book, worth it a read. My mind conjured up lots of images when reading.
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on 6 December 2015
Excellent read using humor to highlight the flaws inherent in human behaviour
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on 30 October 2014
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