Divine Comedies

Funny fiction featuring angels, Armageddon, not-so-sheepish nuns and more…

A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters

By Julian Barnes

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An eccentiric, playfully skewed, surprisingly comprehensive chronicle of life on Planet Earth. A novel whose threads of coincidence and hidden connection are woven into a narrative tapestry brilliant with wit, intelligence, and emotion.
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The Screwtape Letters

By C.S. Lewis

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A "Positively Diabolical" Correspondence

"My dear Wormwood,"
So begins this product of C.S. Lewis's wickedly funny imagination, a correspondence between two devils, Screwtape and his young nephew, Wormwood. As the senior fiend advises his young apprentice in leading humanity astray, Lewis delves into questions about good and evil, temptation, repentance, and grace, offering knowledge and guidance to all who are trying to live good Christian lives.

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On the Road With the Archangel

By Frederick Buechner

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"Inspired by events in the apocryphal Book of Tobit, from the second century B.C., this is the magical tale of two families brought together, as no mere coincidence, by the devilishly clever archangel Raphael. One is the family of Tobit, a virtuous man who can no longer support his wife and son because of Raguel, the quiet, devoted father of Sarah whose pact with the demon Asmodeus has left her life in tragic shambles. Assuming human form, Raphael appears before Tabias, Tobit's devoted son, to help him retrieve his father's fortune hidden in a faraway city. Together, they embark on a miraculous journey in search of the answers to both families' prayers--a journey that is made challenging and delightful by Rapheal's artful efficiency."
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The Diaries of Adam and Eve

By Mark Twain

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Combined in one volume these whimsical diaries are at bottom both an argument for women's equality and an irreverent look at conventional religion.

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The Canterbury Tales: Fifteen Tales and the General Prologue

By Geoffrey Chaucer

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In the late 1300s, people traveling together on a holy pilgrimage prove to be more sinners than saints as they share their stories every evening. Translations to modern English are available, but they miss the flavor of the original. This edition is well-reviewed and does include notes.

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Job, a Comedy of Justice

By Robert A. Heinlein

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"After he firewalked in Polynesia, the world wasn't the same for Alexander Hergensheimer, now called Alec Graham. As natural accidents occurred without cease, Alex knew Armageddon and the Day of Judgement were near. Somehow he had to bring his beloved heathen, Margrethe, to a state of grace, and, while he was at it, save the rest of the world ...."
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Towing Jehovah

By James Morrow

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A visit from Raphael, a despondent angel, who tells Anthony Van Horne that God has died and fallen into the sea, leads Van Horne on a bizarre mission to recover the divine corpse from the Atlantic and tow it to the Arctic.
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The Lambs of God

By Marele Day

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"Three eccentric, secluded nuns live on a remote island, forgotten by time and the Church -- until a priest unwittingly happens upon them. He is as surprised to see the nuns as they are to see a flesh-and-blood man, and what follows is the strange, moving, and often hilarious story of their struggle -- a struggle of wills, and of faith."

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The Death of Vishnu

By Manil Suri

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"At the opening of this masterful debut novel, Vishnu lies dying on the staircase he inhabits while his neighbors the Pathaks and the Asranis argue over who will pay for an ambulance. As the action spirals up through the floors of the apartment building we are pulled into the drama of the residents' lives: Mr. Jalal's obsessive search for higher meaning; Vinod Taneja's longing for the wife he has lost; the comic elopement of Kavita Asrani, who fancies herself the heroine of a Hindi movie. Suffused with Hindu mythology, this story of one apartment building becomes a metaphor for the social and religious divisions of contemporary India, and Vishnu's ascent of the staircase parallels the soul's progress through the various stages of existence. As Vishnu closes in on the riddle of his own mortality, we wonder whether he might not be the god Vishnu, guardian not only of the fate of the building and its occupants, but of the entire universe."

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The Abbess of Crewe

By Muriel Spark

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"An elegant fable about intrigue, corruption, and electronic surveillance, 'The Abbess of Crewe' (1974) is set in an English Benedictine convent. Steely and silky Abbess Alexandra has bugged the convent, and rigged her election. But the cat gets out of the bag, and--plunged into scandal--the serene Abbess faces a Vatican inquiry."
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