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by Simon Rich

2.5*

What in God’s Name is funny, off and on; the humour feels forced for the most part, though I laughed long, hard, and out-loud at the bit with Regis Philbin. Other than that… I’m finding it hard to find anything to say about this book.

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.

 

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