From Publishers Weekly
Several Bible stories get a rewrite in this funny collection by This American Life
contributing editor Goldstein (Lenny Bruce Is Dead
). In this version, David kills Goliath not so much for his people as for laughs, and Jonah's lesser-known brother Vito fears that God's hand in Jonah's stint inside the whale has less to do with Jonah than Vito's own role in a youthful penis-touching incident. In My Troubles (A Work in Progress, by Joseph of N—), a worried father-to-be deals with the ambiguities of having one's wife knocked up by an angel. The voices of these stories sound like that of the semiobservant Jew in the book's preface, who describes one of God's failed universes as consisting of just one person—a man named Morris who sat in a room by himself, trying to decide whether to cuff his pants or let them drag. With refashioned language and reimagined motivations, Goldstein's biblical characters evoke the kind of touching truths only found at the bottom of deep barrel laughs. (Apr.)
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The deeply religious might be offended by This American Life contributor Goldstein’s often-raucous reimaginings of Old Testament tales. But the less devout may find themselves chuckling at the unholy hilarity of it all. Here readers find Adam and Eve talking to God after being banished from the Garden of Eden: “We get it,” they screamed. “You’ve made your point. Now let us back in already.” A misanthropic Noah hears a voice (inside his nose, no less) telling him to build an ark. An enterprising man operates a “Golden Calf” business to compete with the Almighty, marketing the bovine as a “more laid-back, cud-chewing lord.” Swarthy Samson, who’s been shacking up with foxy Philistine Delilah, threatens a mortal enemy: “I will make Jewish his penis with my teeth.” After killing Goliath, an unsatisfied David finds that all he really wants to do is to make people laugh. Even God gets a dressing-down in a brave new biblical world that’s part parable, part vaudeville: “He was . . . tough, stubborn, and prone to yelling in your face for pretty much no reason.” --Allison Block