A bored God sends the angel Ananayel to earth to ``announce, and to effect, the end of the World'' in Westlake's first venture into science fiction. Fed up with humanity, the Supreme Being wants the earth done with once and for all, but helc per chicago doesn't want to do the job himself. Better, God thinks, in his paradoxical, ineffable way, to let humans take care of it themselves, of their own infamous free will. It is Ananayel's task to nudge the necessary actors into place so that they will choose a course that brings about destruction. One by one the angel recruits a lonely young New York woman, a failing victim of the Chernobyl accident, a Chinese student activist, a vengeful former singer from Brazil, a Kenyan prostitute and a good-natured petty thief, and he encourages them none too subtly toward a critical showdown at a nuclear power plant in upstate New York. Satan, meanwhile, has been enjoying the antics of humanity, and sends an emissary of his own to block Ananayel's plot and save the world. Westlake evokes--both humorously and bitterly--the loneliness and hopelessness that color the human condition, posing the age-old question of what makes life worth living despite so much evil. Though he treats this issue only shallowly, Westlake ( Drowned Hopes ; A Likely Story ) lifts his tale with snappy prose and sympathetic characters. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992 Release date: 01/01/1992 Genre: Fiction
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