I just finished rereading “Good Omens- The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch” and I love this book. It was written by two of my favorite authors, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, before they were both famous. I’ve read this book too many times to count. Well, or around 5. But, it had been years and years. My last copy was loaned out so many times and left in my boyfriend’s car for so long that it eventually disentegrated. Which was unfortunate really, as it was a signed copy. But, that is the way the cookie crumbles, or in this case the book.
Amusingly, in the foreward there is a segment about how they didn’t know “they were going to write the most repaired book in the world. (Believe us: We have signed a delightfully large number of paperbacks that have been dropped in the bath, gone a worrying brown color, got repaired with sticky tape and string, and in one case, consisted entirely of loose pages in a plastic bag…)”. I had a relatively new copy when I got it signed, but if I were to find it now, (as it I’m sure it still exists somewhere, but I have no idea where), it would be a rough looking thing held together with a rubber band with rumpled, formerly wet pages.
(I repurchased it again a few weeks ago so that I could give it a reread.)
So what all this really means is that this is the kind of book that you read in the bath, lend to your friends who then leave them in cars to melt the binding in the summertime, pass around to anyone with the time to read it, and generally love and abuse.
“Good Omens” is essentially a comedy about the end of the world. The story follows a large number of amusing characters including an angel and a demon who have accidently become friends over the last few thousand years, the four horsemen of the apocolypse, a modern day witch who happens to have a book of prophesy that explains exactly what will happen in the next week (if she can decode it), and of course the antichrist, an eleven year old boy that runs a ragtag group of neighborhood kids known as “Them”. All the stories come crashing together for a hilarious and madcap dash towards the end of times.
The thing that I love most about Gaiman’s writing are his great characters and the thing I love most about Pratchett’s work is his great sense of comedy. Throw the two together and you have a really fun read. Let me share this little quote from the intro that I love:
“God moves in extremely mysterious, not to say, circuitous ways. God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players, (i.e. everybody) to be involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.”
This book is funny, entertaining, and delightfully naughty. I recommend you get a copy, drop it in the tub, share it with your friends, lose it under your couch for an unforseen amount of time, and eventually find it, read it again, enjoy, and repeat the whole process.
Get to it. This is 2012. You never know when the end days might be around the corner.