Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witchby Published 28 Nov 2006
|Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.pdf|
|Format||Mass Market Paperback|
An alternative cover for this ISBN can be found here
According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.
So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.
And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch Reviews
This has got to be one of the funniest satires I've ever read. I suppose the closest comparison I could make is to describe it as a literary sibling to Dogma, but filtered through a distinctly British lense. That description doesn't really do the story justice, but that film definitely hits me in the same place as the book.
The whole premise, and I'm not giving much away here, begins with the accidental "mis-placement" of the infant Antichrist during a complex baby-swapping procedure intended to kick off the Apocalypse. It's all down hill from there.
This book is funny, irreverent, and at times surprisingly insightful. While some parts of the book may seem cliched or even kitschy, the book never puts up the pretense of being revolutionary or edgy. The characters, like any melodrama, are intended to be archetypal, so even the relatively predictable changes that occur seem appropriate in the context of the story. The surprises are really in the details, and in that regard the execution is brilliant. To give you an example, the devil Crowly drives a car in which the tape-deck will transform any tape placed in it into a copy of "Queen's Greatest Hits" within a very short period of time after one hits the play button. Now I love "Bohemian Rhapsody" as much as the next guy, but an eternity of nothing but THAT particular album?! That's the kind of devilry that works on many levels.
*** 4.75 ***
"... “God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.” ..."
Loved every second of it! A book about free choice and nature vs nurture, some good old pondering over what is good and what is evil, commentary on our values and all together sorry state of our perceptions, all bundled up in the beautifully hilarious and stingingly clever prose of the authors, who only cement there places as some of the best of our contemporaries. 50% of the book deserves to hang as quotations on our walls, but I will have to be satisfied with just couple...
"... “It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.” ..."
To all who know me it will come as no surprise that Terry Pratchett and his humor are like a balm for my soul. Even though I adore almost every word he puts to paper, I am still aware of the fact that he is not everyone's cup of tea. More often it is the over-saturation of his cheek that becomes too much and people loose the underlined analysis of human behavior in which lays his greatest strength. I would be the first one to recommend his work, but I will also be the one to warn you to space his works good time apart in order to truly savor his wisdom and turn of phrase. After finishing any of his books I am always tempted to immediately jump into the next, but that would do me and the book a disservice. So now I treat them as precious gems - the rarer, the more time and adoration I can lavish on each!!!
"... "Over the years Crowley had found it increasingly difficult to find anything demonic to do which showed up against the natural background of generalized nastiness. There had been times, over the past millennium, when he’d felt like sending a message back Below saying, Look we may as well give up right now, we might as well shut down Dis and Pandemonium and everywhere and move up here, there’s nothing we can do to them that they don’t do to themselves and they do things we’ve never even thought of, often involving electrodes. They’ve got what we lack. They’ve got imagination. And electricity, of course. One of them had written it, hadn’t he…”Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.” ..."
If you ask me, this book deserves giving it a try, no matter what genre you usually gravitate to. Even better if this is not your usual cup of tea:) I recommend it to all!!!
"... “Potentially evil. Potentially good, too, I suppose. Just this huge powerful potentiality waiting to be shaped.” ..."
Now I wish you all Happy Reading and many more Wonderful books to come!!!
I read American Gods not too long ago, and while I liked it, it didn't turn out to be a favorite. So I wondered if maybe I shouldn't go back and check this one out. You know, see if it was really as good as I remembered?
It was actually better. Hilarious!
The 5 star rating stands!
Original review 2009
Good Omens is going to have to go down as one of my favorites! I wouldn't say that I laughed out loud, but I snorted once or twice and smiled the whole way through! Who would have thought the apocalypse could be so funny?! Evidently Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Personally, I thought it was a great "coming of age" story about a boy named Adam Young.
Warning: If you are one of those people who wear a "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelet and believe that the purple teletubby really is gay, this is not the book for you. Just put it down and grab something by C.S. Lewis.
The story centers around an angel and a demon who have spent thousands of years on earth together, and have quite a good working relationship. Everything is running along smoothly until Crowley (the demon) is charged with delivering the antichrist to his new family. In other words, handing over the Spawn of Hell to a bunch of (satanic) nuns who will switch him out with a human baby who has just been born. Once the deed is done, Crowley decides to enlist Aziraphale (the angel) to help him stop the coming apocalypse. They have eleven years before the boy reaches his "full potential"...
I somehow ended up reading them both simultaneously. So I couldn't help wondering
What Madam Bovary Might Have Thought Of Good Omens
Three days later, a package arrived; there was no return address, but she immediately recognised Rodolphe's hand. It contained a paperback novel, whose title was Good Omens. Feverishly, she cast herself over it. Her English was poor, but, with the aid of a dictionary, she persevered and soon made great progress.
The more she read, the greater her bewilderment became. The book at first reminded her of Candide, which she had surreptitiously read at the convent, but M. Voltaire's ésprit had been replaced by another ingredient she was unable to name; she suspected that it must be the strange English invention they called humour. All the personages were well-meaning and agreeable; the witches, the torturers of witches, the prostitutes, even the Demons of Hell; they were filled with kindness and compassion, and their worst faults amounted to an occasional mild irritability. Where were the indifference and thoughtless cruelty that surrounded her, and which had now become the very air she breathed?
She did not know whether Rodolphe had sent her the book to comfort her or to mock her in her despair, and her futile attempts to resolve this question gradually resulted in an agonising headache. Her husband prescribed an infusion of valerian, and persuaded her to retire for the night; she lay sleepless in her bed a long time, until the drug finally took effect just as the sky was beginning to lighten. She dreamed of apocalyptic prophecies, red-headed women wielding swords, endless circles of horseless carriages, young boys with dogs.
In the morning, she remembered that she should purchase some arsenic.
It seemed unfair for this to be one-way. So, in the spirit of granting a right of reply, here's
What Good Omens Might Have Thought Of Madam Bovary
"I saw this smashin' film yesterday on TV," said Adam, as the Them listened attentively. "It was called Madam Bovver-Boy -"
"She was a lady skinhead?" interrupted Brian.
"No, stupid," said Adam. "It's a French name. Bovver-Boy. By Flow-Bear."
"You mean Madame Bovary, by Flaubert," said Wensleydale. "I read about it in The Encyclopaedia of World Literature."
Adam gave him a withering glance. "That's what I said," he continued. "Madam Bovver-Boy, by Flow-Bear. She's married to this doctor, and he's dead borin', so she starts hangin' around with these two lovers, and then she maxes out her credit card, so she eats arsernick and poisons herself. The bit where she's dyin' of the arsernick is dead good. Her tongue's hanging out and she's screamin' -"
"Why did she max out her credit card?" asked Pepper.
"She was buying presents for her lovers," said Adam. "Roses an' boxes of chocolates an' stuff like that -"
"I thought the lovers were supposed to give her presents?" said Brian dubiously. "My sister's boyfriend gave her this huge bunch of roses on Valentine's Day, and a box of Quality Street, and a balloon with -"
"She gave them presents instead because it was a proto-feminist novel," explained Wensleydale authoritatively. "That's what The Encyclopaedia of World Literature says."
Adam felt that his control of the situation was slipping, and decided to up the stakes. "It's all true," he said, in an exegetical move that would have had Flaubert scholars around the world clutching their foreheads. "Based on a true story," he added prudently, in case the The Encyclopaedia of World Literature happened to have opinions on the subject.
Behind the bushes, Aziraphale raised an eyebrow. Crowley looked defensive. "Very loosely based," he whispered hastily. "I mean, I tempted her, it's my job you know, but Gustave changed the ending for dramatic purposes. Said it didn't work to have Rodolphe sort out her debts and then settle down in a cozy ménage à quatre with her, Léon and her husband. I told him that's what actually happened, but he insisted the arsenic worked better..."
This novel spoof of THE OMEN is absolutely hilarious. From the four bikers of the apocalypse to adorable hell hounds, it's my absolute favorite offering from Terry Pratchett -- his humor mixed with Neil Gaiman's is absolute win in my opinion.
***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. Consider a novel's presence on my Goodreads bookshelf as a hearty endorsement. I can't believe I just said "hearty." It sounds like a stew.****