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The Old Man and Mr. Smith: A Fable Paperback – May, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Actor-author Ustinov offers philosophical nuggets and satirical barbs in this fable about God and Satan traveling incognito on an inspection tour of the earth.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

If Ustinov hailed from certain parts of the world, a death squad would be looking for him now regarding his irreverent portrayal of God and the Devil. Fortunately for Ustinov's readers, that is not the case. In this fable, God visits Earth to take a close look at his creation. He admits that he hasn't paid much attention for a few millennia. God invites Satan to join him. After God apologizes for shoving the Devil out of Heaven, they travel to a variety of countries in the guise of the Old Man (God) and Mr. Smith (Satan), with the FBI and Interpol in hot pursuit. They examine the highs and lows of human evolution and return home with more questions than answers. The story is superb, the characters varied and entertaining. The work is, in turn, poignant, hilarious, meaningful, and just plain silly. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/91.
- Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Connecticut at Torrington Lib.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Pub (May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559701919
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559701914
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,311,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In this amusing fable, God and the Devil have taken mortal forms to meet and walk the earth in examination of their handiwork. Naturally, there are a number of stumbling blocks. One, when they first need to pay for something, God pulls random currency from his pocket. This quickly gets the duo in trouble with the FBI, who chase them for the remainder of the trip. Two, no one believes them when they tell them who they really are (hardly surprising). Starting in the US, the bickering twosome end up hitting a number of contents and capitols before their time runs out. Ustinov uses this conceit to make loads of wry observations on humanity, as well specific cultural and political types. There are lots of deep thoughts stirred into this romp, and although a bit hammy, it is worth a read. It definitely makes me want to read some other of Ustinov's fiction, as he has a nimble way with his prose.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sylver_one on September 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What a shame this book is no longer in print! I adore this book to its core. What a beautiful story.

The text on the back said it was a hilarious comedy about god and the devil returning to earth to see what happened to creation, but as a matter of fact it is so much more. It is about society, it is about humanity, it is about downfall. And yes, it is extremely witty.

I am so glad I found it at the shelves of my favorite second hand book shopping place. I do hope it will get back into print, so more people can enjoy this awesome tale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
A great book. Full of laughs yet amazingly profound. Fun and thought provoking. One of my favourite books. Some kind soul sent me a new copy anonomously from Amazon (last I heard it was out of print) - I highly recommend this book and if you want to give someone a surprise with an anonomous gift I speak from experience when I say this book is a great way of doing it!
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By Fantus on October 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Old Man and Mr. Smith: A FableI love this book, It's very interesting how he portrays God and the Devil, Two characters who may or may not have existed in real life(you decide) but some people fear them never the less.
They are friends sort of but look at things quite differently it is very well written entertaining and and above all it's funny if you have a slightly warped sense of humour, I know I do, Great read.
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