book reviews based on one random sentence

THE CITY OF GOD by St. Augustine (tr. Marcus Dods, D.D.)

“There is, then, nothing to hinder the gods from mingling in a bodily form with men, from seeing and being seen, from speaking and hearing.”

What happens when a humble grocery store clerk gets a special message… from the Man Upstairs himself?

This question is hilariously answered in St. Augustine’s rollicking City of God.

Augustine has dashed off the kind of page-turner that has the reader automatically casting the movie in his or her head. To play God, may this reviewer humbly suggest Whoopi Goldberg or Danny DeVito? Either performer would bring a rare humanity and sly wit to what otherwise might be a daunting role.

by William Faulkner

“‘And so it was the Aunt Rosa that came back to town inside the ambulance,’ Shreve said.”

There’s no getting rid of Aunt Rosa. She’s a feisty old gal with a quick tongue, and she can use today’s modern slang as easily as any teenager.

Aunt Rosa is, of course, the memorably wacky central character of William Faulkner’s delightfully dark comedy, Absalom, Absalom!

The whole family is waiting for Aunt Rosa to die so they can inherit her vast fortune, but the stubborn old battle-ax just won’t comply. Every time it looks like the end, Aunt Rosa pulls off another miraculous recovery.

How long will it be before the oddball cast of nieces and nephews decides to take matters into their own hands?

Fans of classic British comedy from the Ealing Studio will appreciate the decidedly morbid—and hilarious—twists and turns.

more from Jack Pendarvis at The Believer here.