I am God
I am God
by Giacomo Sartori
Translated from the Italian by Frederika Randall
Riotously funny and subversively philosophical, Italian novelist Giacomo Sartori’s I am God is the diary of the Almighty’s existential crisis that ensues when he falls in love with a human.
Paperback List Price: $16.99 • ISBN: 9781632062147 • Publication: 2/5/2019 • 5" x 7.125" • 224 pages • Fiction—Religious Satire / Italian • General Trade • Territory: World English • eBook ISBN: 9781632062154
About the Book
I am God. Have been forever, will be forever. Forever, mind you, with the razor-sharp glint of a diamond, and without any counterpart in the languages of men. When a man says, I’ll love you forever, everyone knows that forever is a frail and flimsy speck of straw in the wind. A vow that won’t be kept, or that in any case is very unlikely to be kept. A lie in other words. But when I say forever, I really do mean forever. So let that be clear.
So begins God’s diary of the existential crisis that ensues when, inexplicably, he falls in love with a human. And not just any human, but a fanatical geneticist and atheist who’s certain she can improve upon the magnificent creation she doesn’t even give him the credit for. It’s frustrating, for a god.
God has bigger things that could be occupying him instead, such as observing the teeming universe with its dazzling panoramas, its rarefied interstellar wastes, its colliding galaxies and breathtaking supernovas. Instead, he can’t tear his eyes (so to speak) from the geneticist who’s unsettlingly avid when it comes to science, sex, and Sicilian cannoli. Whatever happens he must safeguard his transcendental dignity. So he watches—disinterestedly, of course—as the handsome climatologist who has his sights set on her keeps having strange accidents. And as the lanky geneticist becomes hell-bent on infiltrating the Vatican’s secret files, for reasons of her own….
Cosmically funny and divinely human, I am God is an unforgettable romp through the Big Questions with the universe’s most incontestably perfect narrator.
Reviews for Giacomo Sartori:
“The well-wrought plot allows the unusually empathic Sartori to imagine a memorable woman character embroiled in Catholic hypocrisy, new age nature worship, testosterone-fueled careerism, and clerical pedophilia. Meanwhile the reflective side of the narrative gives the author the chance to explore all the implications of God-as-storyteller: omniscience, to name just one. A witty and profound confrontation with the most fundamental human problems.”
“Hilarious. Sartori is fully in control of his ambitious satirical design. He never forces the laughs (although one often laughs) and he never allows the tone to wander off track. A comic fable about the fate of women and the planet.”
“The narrative tone is cheerful and surreal, unusually for a writer like Sartori, most of whose novels are permeated with the tragedy of human existence. In fact, the irony is merely a different instrument, less straightforward and definitive, to reveal that same universe of illusions and violence of which the lives he writes about are made.”
—Novelist Andrea Inglese, Focus-in magazine
“The irony is nicely measured, never over the top; the mood is bittersweet; the author doesn’t hesitate to say exactly what he thinks, but never stoops to invective or escapism. Sartori is good at modulating tone, and especially good in the lyric mode the Great Protagonist uses when he gazes in wonder at the marvels of nature (marvels he has himself created) or the splendour of the galaxies and the planets, in passages that balance the more comic and surreal pages of the novel.”
“Sartori’s Dafne is one of the most emblematic and convincing female characters in recent Italian literature. She’s a free woman, highly intelligent, convinced of the power of science. God observes her daily, he inspects her closely, and he is jealous. Finally he becomes obsessed, observation slowly giving way to infatuation. These pages of Sono Dio are wrapped in immense tenderness, as the supreme being becomes shaken, and vulnerable.”
—Margherita Ingoglia, Kairos
About the Author
The novelist, poet and dramatist Giacomo Sartori was born in 1958 in Trento in the Alpine northeast of Italy near the Austrian border. An agronomist, he is a soil specialist whose unusual day job (unusual for a writer) has shaped a distinctive concrete and poetic literary style. He has worked abroad with international development agencies in a number of countries, and has taught at the Università di Trento. He was over 30 when he began writing, and has since published seven novels and four collections of stories as well as poetry and texts for the stage. He’s an editor of the literary collective Nazione Indiana and contributes to the blog www.nazioneindiana.com.
Sartori took as his subject in his early novels Tritolo (TNT) and Sacrificio (Sacrifice) the stifling provincial atmosphere of the valleys of his native region and the twisted lives of its most vulnerable inhabitants. A recent novel Rogo (At the Stake), also set in the region, is written in the voices of three women from different historical periods who commit infanticide. The autofiction Anatomia della battaglia (The Anatomy of the Battle) about a young man’s effort to come to terms with and define his manhood against the model of his father, a committed Fascist, and the historical novel Cielo nero (Black Heavens), deal with fascism and its dark, persistent allure. Sartori’s shorter fiction includes the book of interrelated absurdist stories Autismi (Autisms, 2018) written in the voice of a person struggling to cope with the bizarre, baffling customs and expectations that all around him seem to share. The black humor and pessimism are reminiscent of Samuel Beckett. Several stories from Autismi have appeared in Frederika Randall’s English translation in Massachusetts Review, and an excerpt from L’Anatomia della battaglia, also translated by Randall, appeared in The Arkansas International no 2. At present he lives between Paris and Trento.
About the Translator
Translator Frederika Randall grew up in Pittsburgh and has lived in Italy for 30 years (also New York and London). She has worked as a cultural journalist for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Nation and the Italian weekly Internazionale among others. Her translations from the Italian include fiction by Luigi Meneghello, Ottavio Cappellani, Helena Janeczek, Davide Orecchio, Igiaba Scego and the epic tale of the Risorgimento, Ippolito Nievo’s Confessions of An Italian. Other translations include historian Sergio Luzzatto’s The Body of Il Duce, and his Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age, for which she and the author shared the Cundill Prize for History in 2011 and his Primo Levi’s Resistance, 2016, about the great Holocaust witness’s experience as a partisan in northwest Italy. Her translation of Guido Morselli’s novel The Communist for New York Review Books was published in Aug. 2017 (excerpts appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review EuropeNow.) Awards include a PEN (Heim) Translation Fund award, 2009, and a Bogliasco Fellowship, 2013. More at frederikarandall.wordpress.com.