Author - Tom Holt
Publishing House: Orbit
Duration: 282 pages
'A rival to the comic throne' - Starburst.
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No doubt not everyone peruses over their cornflakes and embarks on the notion that Gods do indeed age and therefore end up in a Residential Home and write about it - not an ordinary home but a place for Godly deities. The synopsis of Tom Holt's book might as well of been a meticulously developed analogy that originated from a word association game - gone wrong. 'God' and 'Residential Home' - do what you will! Unsure what Holt's religious persuasion may entail in prompting this 'Odds and Gods' satire - I plonked on the idea Holt indeed didn't research his divine subjects before publication - although 1995 (the year of Odds and Gods publication) was 'pre-information-highway-era' and if your into the Classics all you had was Penguin. Nothing wrong with that in 1995, yet I've come to a starling conclusion, <yes, it is early on in this write-up, granted>. Holt may've stimulated research which took place in 2004 - namely: 'Odds of a God.' Where a research team at a northern university made a startlingly accurate analysis that a higher-being stroke divine entity (a God) was 67% certain - did exist. Naturally, the report concluded; the 67% concept purely was for Theologians to decipher over - albeit, these great divine minds must look into this in the term of: statistics? 'Credible statistics and Theologians do not mix', they'll be deliberating over the data for eternity, and according to Holt; Gods have an expiry date. Now, if Dr. Unwin was to be taken seriously - Tom Holt's book is an odd snap-shot of the aging process of Gods. This book is therefore a tragic analogy of the great divines plummeting from 'Philadelphia clouded grace' into an old people's home - you couldn't get a starker vision of a profound contrast.
Written in a matter-of-fact discourse as if deities were washer-women hanging out the washing - Holt's satire is refreshingly British, a converse of a decrepit holiness's 'aches and pains.' The residents are cantankerous old buggers, deathless but decidedly no longer young. They twitter (mystical murmurings) and bicker in day rooms painted in that unique shade of pale green used only on buildings set aside for the long-term storage of the sick and elderly, and they hate it like poison, put up with the 'Gone wrong' décor - a firm case for delaying catalyst treatments, hip-replacements, and digging out in-growing toenails. Accept for a vegetation spirit who revered by a small tribe. Since the tribe is no longer, thanks to a nasty bout of influenza the language has also dispersed onto pastures new - so no-one understands a word he says; yet at Sunnyvoyde it doesn't matter. He smiles a lot and is transfixed with Aussie soap operas. "If he ain't happy, he ain't smiling is ee! Ee eeven smiles when ee pee.." - "Probably finks ees died and gone t'eaven." For Gods, the term creation is deity itself. God's worship the creation of all that is all, which is everything; apparently all religions derive from the same cotton thread of creation. Gods are only depicted as old in storybooks because they are old, you don't get mere whipper-snapping Gods illustrated by the likes of William Blake who're clean shaven do you - Gods have white plumes of cloud from their chins, depicting sublime wisdom which takes it's toll, therefore a signal for the rest of the body to take leave of their duties, after hundreds of years of service. Adonis the Greek God of Spring and Beauty talks through gritted teeth, gritted so they don't fall-out, he's keeping hold of the last three as if his life depended on it and has a daily diet of soup; he's got fed-up with Greek yogurt many moons ago. Toothless for nutritional variations - the blander the better, God knows why? Taste-buds left the ailing divine mouths on the premise that the old deities love for peppermint and lavender, the herbal infusion consumes their existence, resembling a saggy, stagnant 'Floradix tea-bag.'
A divine herbal-life infusion is the conclusion - a concoction that youthful Gods spat out in disgust as they dealt with being the ultimate salvation of their given duty - Gods whose birth-right were ambassadors of Thunder, Wisdom, Fire, and Desire, to name a few. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality - barely is a shadow of her former self - but then her former self wasn't exactly a depiction of 'love', beauty' or 'sexuality' - unless of course, fingering your left areola and looking decidedly uninteresting in a Roman styled Pre-Raphaelite pose caused your groin to quiver into waves of insurmountable passion. I hasten guess she didn't, so wave your croaked finger at Botticelli; he was to blame - 'Venus was her name!' - Vulcan, the god of fire and metals whose elderly expertise consists with rubbing dry sticks on cold nights (well the winter-fuel allowance doesn't exempt deities); found himself to be an expert in the cordless screwdriver, much to the pleasure of Venus whose feminine stony charm of touching one's rock-hard areola handicapped herself from doing male godly chores. Well, Thor the god of thunder and electrical chores made himself unavailable by igniting an interest in shed activities - namely: steam and traction engines. Naturally, having his head in the cloud is second nature to a god of thunder, it didn't necessarily require wisdom - alias Athena (the god of wisdom) to prove he had the knack - alas, it did deserved a clap. Odin, the Pa of Thor, in his Viking prose shot out steely stares while stroking his headed horns. Frey the god of harvest - also known as 'Freyr', who reigned over the sun, engineered the hope and the prosperity at the event. I amused myself as the weather orientated gods did reside mainly with the elements outside. Athena stoked up converse to stimulate her wisdom, talking about the meaning of the universe - 'Man, is the answer - mankind is the measure of all things - he defines the cosmos. Man is the independent life force, separate from the Creator, possessed of free will; by the act of observing causes all things to exist, simply by virtue of being susceptible of objective observation.'
The ultimate Greek tragedy
Ah, how the great deities have 'Holt-ed' and plummeted - having reached their zenith. Talks of Butch Cassidy a film study of the Sundance Kid stipulates a fascination with man's cinematic history, the gods notably put mankind on a pedestal and so they should - talks of the event of July 14th sometime during the fifteenth century simulates washerwoman gossip façade, as seen on daytime TV. Resonating into a lump of bile: Kyle style - I longed for Lloyd Webber to turn-up at Sunnyvoyde, just for a sing-a-long - 'Lion King' maybe: to put the cheery on the top of the cauliflower cheese. Pan's weariness (Pan is god of wild shepherds) pained me - I guess there is only so much sheep herding you can do in hoofs. He staggers, after two and a third yards he yearns for a comfy wheel-chair and for his bony hands a Zimmer frame is clutched as if a crook. His deeper vocals make the earth move - and where his hooves indent onto a freshly cut lawn, primroses would spring. He'd surprisingly mutter to himself: "Where did this spring from then?" The primrose occurrence has happened for centuries - dementia has taken up residence, as have dentures swapping, Zeus wears Pan's horsey dentures - this is the ultimate Greek tragedy.
Holt delivers a hilarious concept - he manages to cultivate a plethora of characters which is exhausting, overwhelming and a must for a student reading, 'Classics.' Theologians and followers' of Dr. Unwin undoubtedly will develop deep forehead creases due to the profound godly content - that won't compute to those seeking a recognised scholar or viable source that is a form of doctrine. I have a feeling our dear Tom Holt made the whole thing up. The deity research is impressive as is the quantity of godly characters in the book and how they appear. It is set at a fast witty pace, with super timing and clever godly references. Recommended. Four stars.©1st2thebar 2013