cover image I Am God

I Am God

Giacomo Sartori, trans. from the Italian by Frederika Randall. Restless, $16.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-63206-214-7

The narrator of Sartori’s hilarious, insightful novel, his first to be published in English, is none other than God, a proper monotheistic deity stirred in a very human way by one of his own creations. In language he claims is inadequate for a lonely god, he begins to keep a diary, tracking a tall, purple-pigtailed geneticist named Daphne. He observes with increasing pique her hapless life as she goes about artificially inseminating cattle, saving endangered horny toads, and engaging in unsatisfactory sex. Her friendship with an energetic zoologist and her randy paleoclimatologist boyfriend is especially irksome to him. (“Some things that happen are so predictable that even a drunken tree sloth could see them coming.”) He mocks these humans and their inebriation, their paltry appreciation of his creation like “asking a protozoan to describe an elephant: he could tell you about an infinitesimal portion of one hair on the scrotum.” And yet God becomes so smitten with Daphne that—after attempting to distract himself by watching a couple of galaxies collide—he succumbs to intervening in the most diabolical manner. On page after laugh-out-loud page, this articulate God—and author—cover just about every cynical and lofty concept concerning one’s own existence that humans ever pondered. This is an immensely satisfying feat of imagination. (Feb.)