What In God's Name Paperback – 16 Aug 2012
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Praise for WIGN:
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)
How can you help mankind, when they won't help themselves? Welcome to Heaven Inc.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
What in God's Name is a very short novel that imagines God as CEO of Heaven inc. God doesn't have much time for humanity, he doesn't answer prayers, he's lost what little interest he ever had in Earth. Humanity has become such a bore, God thinks he might just end the world soon so he can concentrate on his real love, an Asian-fusian restaurant he's planning to open in Heaven soon. Two Angels set out to change God's mind by taking a bet to make a seemingly easy-to-achieve miracle happen - a task that turns out to be the hardest thing they've ever done and... that's pretty much it.
The premise is all. The characters are caricatures and the plot - two Angels race against time to push two social inepts into each other's arms - was tired and predictable. Along the way, there are a few laughs. It's very filmic; at times it reads more like a detailed treatment for a sitcom than a novel. It's VERY American, there is nowhere on Earth or in Heaven that isn't a mirror-copy of the USA.
In short, it's a quick, sometimes funny read, nothing more. I still can't decide if the appearance of Alexander the Great as an impregnator of many women was meant to be a joke.
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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