Stanley Elkin's The Living End is a marvelously funny novel about life and death, heaven and hell. In it, the National Book Award-winning author sets into motion a divine comedy that will have you chuckling at his wry visions of celestial affairs. Ellerbee, the unassuming owner of a small liquor store, is fatally shot in a holdup. First, the Angel of Death ushers him into a wondrous heaven, but St. Peter has other, more infernal plans for this hero. After his transfer, Ellerbee discovers that hell is a busy place. Even God pays an occasional visit there. But the pep talks God delivers to its tormented residents aren't anything like what he gave to Job. Veteran narrator George Guidall provides the perfect voices for the baffled Ellerbee, dutiful angels, and tattered souls who gather before God. He'll make you feel right at home in this spirited world of sight gags, one liners, and cosmic pranks.
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by Stanley Elkin
by Cynthia Rylant
by Robertson Davies
by Nancy Willard
by Max Byrd
by Kim Stanley Robinson
by Thomas H. Cook
by Christian Jacq
by Umberto Eco
"This short novel exhibits the author's sardonic fatalism, a kind of humor so dark that, before the work closes, it's more sad--or angry--than funny. A basically good man dies in a stickup, finds himself in hell, whence proceed comic misadventures. Elkin gives his dramatis personae an endearing quality--except for God, who is a petulant, willful despot. George Guidall, one of the best audiobook narrators, misses none of the beats. Wisely, he reads with a comic tone, but without the comic timing of gags that would turn satire into the Three Stooges. He stints on none of the drama, yet pulls back on the bigger moments to keep them from turning bathetic. His interpretation conjures up a phantasmagoria by Hieronymus Bosch in a prankish mood. If he errs, it's in his inability to give Joseph, a minor character here as in the New Testament, the Yiddish inflections the author wrote for him. There is something of Dostoyevsky as much as of Elkin in Guidall's horrifically funny afterlife, something bigger than the text he reads from. Y.R. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine"
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