OVERRIDE

Only Human

A Divine Comedy

Jenny Diski

Picador

The Book of Genesis tells the story of God's greatest miracle—the making of man in His own image. From the beginning, however, establishing a covenant with His creation has not been easy. Look and you shall find that from behind the apparently monotonous account of Adam's descendants—a dry list of who "begat" whom and who "knew" whom—emerges a complex portrait of a Creator with qualities that can only be described in human terms. Twice He has put his faith in individuals—first Adam and then Noah—and spoken to them directly, and twice He has been disappointed. Resolving for a third and final time to set human matters right, God decides that Abram will be His man, thinking: Here is a stout and independent spirit whose faith and affections, once secured, will glorify God's dominion everywhere.

In this poignant and audacious new novel, Jenny Diski gives to the biblical chapters and verse about Abram and Sarai more than simply a powerful new twist—she gives them haunting new dimensions. Interspersing God's ruminations about humanity with Sarai's side of the story, Only Human is a captivating tale of jealousy and justification, both human and divine.

Having chosen Abram, God discovers to His rueful surprise that "I Am that I Am" monotheism must take into account the "us" of humanity. Abram's covenant with his wife (and half-sister), however small a concern in the heavenly scheme of things, proves resilient. Vying with God for her husband's ear, Sarai will not be ignored. She will speak in the wilderness and be heard. Diski brilliantly transforms this Old Testament covenant story into a bitterly comic love triangle between man, woman, and God—a battle of wills and genders over humanity's future and over whose voice will recount the story of its past.

REVIEWS

Praise for Only Human

“Fascinating...[Diski’s] God attains a tormented specificity. Alternately arrogant and sorrowful, all-knowing yet astonished at the vagaries of creation, His voice is the true center of [Diski’s] book.” —The Village Voice

“Inventive, compelling....Diski has found a wonderful device for explicating the baffling and powerful stories of Abram, and the realization of Sarai as an empowered woman adds depth and texture to one of the oldest stories in the book.” —Booklist

“Original and thought-provoking...The always intriguing Diski retells the Old Testament Sarah and Abraham, creating both a moving love story and a postmodern exploration of the idea of narration.” —Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Jenny Diski

  • Jenny Diski is the author of Skating To Antarctica, The Dream Mistress, and Stranger on a Train from Picador. She lives in Cambridge, England.
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Available Formats and Book Details

Only Human

A Divine Comedy

Jenny Diski

BOOKS FOR COURSES AVAILABLE

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Picador

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