SHELA by Aubrey Menen


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An odd mixture of science-fiction, political satire and morality play. Buddha, meditating in Nirvana, is visited by the archangel Michael, and asks him for a conference with God. Michael says his message is merely that the new Dalai Lama has been chosen. The Devil, coming by, says actually there are two Lamas. One turns out to be a woman, the SheLa, who is then brought to America. The Hela is brought to an adjacent embassy by Russians and Chinese --and the two meet and fall in love. Buddha, meantime, has visited both of them, to warn them of God's latest trick on Man:- the secret of life is shortly to be discovered, which will make life not worth living. Both the Lamas are young and modern, and though mildly respectful, cannot see that man will care if he knows how he was made. Then the Russians kidnap the Hela, who was about to elope with the SheLa; they envelop their embassy in barbed wire, and finally disappear with him. The Buddha is told gently by the Devil that all this was merely a trick to delay his conference with God, by making him spend more aeons thinking about the peculiarities of Man. Crisply done, with some fairly nice, broad, political satire. The secret of life in an appended footnote, is the recent discovery of nucleic acids and genetics -- a combination of reality and fantasy that ends the book on an odd note. For an offbeat audience.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1962
Publisher: Random House