Good to be God, By Tibor Fischer

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Tyndale Corbett is all washed-up at 40: no job, no mortgage, no wife, no kids, no prospects. So when his friend offers him the chance to impersonate him and go to Miami for a conference of handcuff manufacturers, why wouldn't he jump at it? Once he gets there, he realises he has no good reason to return to England. He's going to get into religion, use his salesmanship talents to make some money. But he's not going to be any old preacherman. His aim is to convince the citizens of Miami that he is, in person, God. A splendid comic premise, but it dwindles away as the story proceeds.

Tyndale gets involved in drug-dealing; in answering his parishioners' prayers by sorting out their pet problems and putting the frighteners on undesirable boyfriends; in organising a sexual encounter for an unattractive friend, and in faking his own death so he can be resurrected. But none of these incidents is thoroughly "done", and the novel becomes a series of episodes. What keeps it enjoyable is the tight, twangy style, full of sarcasm and cool American expressions. The one-liners are great. Sample: "The Hierophant has balls but he's losing his marbles."