Sartori ruthlessly confronts the Catholic Church, hypermasculinity, environmental manipulation, capitalism, feel-good entitlement, and more, all in the name of God (whose perfection proves anything but). PEN/Heim Translation Fund–awarded Randall ensures that Sartori’s English-language debut conveys the full impact of Sartori’s scathing humor.
The novel’s drama lies in Daphne’s tale, which God gradually tells: the story of her own messy existence, and the mess she is making of His. Unfortunately, Daphne’s story proves a little scattered, in part because she is kept at such a remove from the reader that she never emerges as a complex, coherent character, only as an object of God’s fascination. Humor is famously tough to translate, and perhaps I Am God is a more successful book in Italian than in this English version. The premise is certainly fun. The problem is that God, here, isn’t provocative or charismatic enough to pull off a one-man show ... If God in a novel cracks a joke, it can be silly or grim or anywhere in between, but it has to be funny.
... an almost outrageously charming book...Giacomo Sartori takes a simple, playful premise and sets the universe crazily spinning. The Italian writer has conjured up a delicious, comical stream of omniconsciousness ... a being of authentic complexity and paradoxical humanity, of both otherworldly dignity and satirical absurdity, is an irresistible character ... Sartori playfully deploys God’s omniscience, dangling it here, pulling it away there, like a cat toy. The effect is happily destabilizing, as is his radically changing perspective, ants to nebulas to bull semen to the brilliant, explosive birth of stars. Sartori creates a God whose language is casual and genial, a God whom you could have a beer with, and perhaps already have, then yanks him back to the most remote heavens, leaving us here on Earth as insignificant specks ... The only certainty is Sartori’s humor, godlike, infusing every part of the book from the premise to the plot to the venal, amiably clueless characters to the language of the diary narrated in the celestial being’s intelligent, deadpan voice ... The elegant, easy-going translation by Frederika Randall is convincing and conversational, reveling in the diary’s asides, footnotes, and parentheses in which God is constantly setting the record, and the reader, straight ... Sartori has bestowed on us a narrative that is both comforting and disconcerting.
As its title promises, it will satisfy readers longing for a narrator who is omniscient (literally) and, at the same time, unreliable ... quirky and ingenious ... Sartori does a beautiful job of describing such spectacular cosmic matters throughout ... The text is rendered into natural, accessible, and idiomatic English, a pleasure to read, by award-winning translator Frederika Randall.
Is Giacomo Sartori, a soil scientist (for real) and the author of seven novels, just another 'new atheist,' making fun of religion because it’s irrational? God, no. This novel is an utterly serious and wildly comic test of the strange idea we take for granted in reading prose fiction—the pretense of the omniscient narrator ... By speaking in the voice of God, Sartori has simplified the premise and complicated the result of writing as such ... We remember what hasn’t yet happened by writing about it, by conjuring what we have lost before we even know what that is, or will be. What better definition of omniscience could there be? No wonder Sartori’s God is a writer.
Humorous, provocative, and perspicacious ... Frederika Randall, the novel’s translator from Italian, performs a phenomenal feat in capturing God’s vertiginous linguistic and stylistic oscillations revealing him as a capricious, indecisive, bawdy voyeur ... an entertaining, delightful, and timely account of our civilization’s status quo, as well as an irreverent but nonetheless serious warning about our future.
The irrational pull of erotic love has never had a funnier incarnation than the one in I Am God ... Every little chapter of I Am God forces the reader to decide whether laughter or outrage is the proper response. There’s a grand tradition of Italian artists (Dante, Michelangelo, Verdi) who shock us with their new and unsettling images of God. In his modest and profound way, Sartori belongs in this terrific company.
Hilarious, insightful ... 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.
While Sartori surfs breezily enough on a tide of deep thoughts, the book lacks the sharpness or real sense of risk that would make it resonate. Sartori might also want to reconsider having God say things like, 'I have nothing against homosexuals, but if I created men and women, it was for some purpose, if you know what I mean' ... Sartori's philosophical fantasy succeeds in getting us to ponder life's big questions from fresh angles but is short on fresh insight.