Saturday, June 25, 2011

Good to be God by Tibor Fischer

Good to be God is the latest novel of Tibor Fischer, one of my favourite authors, a British novelist and short story writer of Hungarian origin. The main character is Tyndale a broke, middle aged lighting bulbs salesman who after meeting again his childhood pal Nelson who is in the handcuffs business and travels often, decides to fly to Miami, Florida instead of his friend. After spending time and having fun in a Miami hotel with policemen who are there for some symposium he decides to stay for good and empties his friend's company credit card. Tyndale wants to impersonate God, to fool those who deserve it and take some of their money and to get rich. This novel is full of colourful characters like Sixto the Cuban landlord and the boss of Tyndale, who works for him as a drug dealer, Napalm the ugly but friendly and ungrateful roommate, Dishonest Dave the Haitian shopowner who attracts mugging and who's motto is "We fully intend to rip you off", DJ Gamay and DJ Muscat who are replaced as DJ-s by a monkey and who think that Tyndale can get them into a multinational crime organisation, Hierophant the reverend of the Church of Heavily Armed Christ and former marine whose congregation consist  of less then a dozen of members. Here at the  Church of Heavily Armed Christ Tyndale becomes the right hand of Hierophant and  replaces him when the marine reverend has to tend to his terminally ill mother. Tyndale by trying to become a deity tries to fix the problem of the parish members from cats gone astray to saving a girl from his abusive lover. In fact by trying to become God, Tyndale tries to do and does  good things even if it's in an unorthodox way. The title of the novel could have been Good to be Good because even if some of the motives of Tyndale are selfish or wrong, he recognizes the goodness in folks and wants to help them doing the good thing. This is true in the case of Gulin, the Turkish immigrant woman, but also when he sees that the Fixico sisters are brainwashing people with their prosperity religion and works against them and topples them not even taking the credit for it. The novel ends in an optimist way: Tyndale is not rich as he expected in the beginnings, but gets a second chance in life by the side of Gulin.
This is not the best novel of Tibor Fischer like Thought Gang or Under the Frog , but I have liked it. It's funny, of black humor, though even so you can find lines which hold truth on religion, society and life. I recommend reading it. Tibor Fischer's novels remind me in a slight way of  Rejtő Jenő black humored writings and underworld characters.
" I had some dealings with the union reps at work and they were all, almost without exception, the most greedy, self centered and vile types you were likely to come across. You should see their expenses. Beware talk of brotherhood and justice. Whereas those, like the Hierophant who trumpet the stand-on-your-own-to-feet  creed are the most likely to give you a hand..."
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