Sunday, August 04, 2013

Job:A Comedy of Justice

The main character is on a cruise to the Polynesian Islands. They watch a firewalk, and in response to a bet, he attempts to walk on the fires. At the end, he faints. When he wakes up, he is in a world that seems like his. However, there have been some minor changes in the past century, that have left this a totally different world than he knew. (Everybody knows him, but his name is different than the one he had before.) He meets up with a girl, they fall in love, and then they get zapped to more new time periods.

Eventually they are caught in the rapture and he goes to heaven as a saint. She isn't there, so he goes down to hell to find her. She isn't there either - she is actually out fighting with Loki. Eventually, he discovers that he was victim to a game being played, similar to Job. He also finds his girl and becomes happy.

The book has two distinct parts. The first part deals with the "universe shifting." This is the more interesting part. How would you react if at any moment, all your material positions (including identity) were stripped from you, leaving you to start totally over materially. How would you change how you live your life? How could the world be different based on small changes that happen at times? (All the worlds seem somewhat similar to our modern worlds, but they all have their differences.)

The second (and shorter) part deals primarily with the main character exploring the afterlife. This is played as a comedy, with heaven and hell being portrayed more as something like a fraternity. It starts to get old and pretty goofy. The devout religion of the narrator (whatever his name may be at the time) is somewhat muted by his experience, but still seems to maintain its theological and moral base. Alas, the book would have been better without this ending.

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