A singular and heartfelt retelling of the beginnings of time.


A writer offers a personal view of the Creation story.

Dentist and debut author Szana shares tales from his life while retelling the Judeo-Christian Creation story. But he begins with a view of heaven, describing a cosmology that at points will be unfamiliar and even challenging to readers. In Szana’s vision of the original heaven, an unseen, all-powerful God is represented to the angels by two ultimate beings, Michael and Lucifer, described as co-regents. The character of Michael, in relation to the unseen God, is not clear. He is depicted as “the physical manifestation of the Creator-God,” as Lucifer’s creator, and as “the active agent used by the Father to create.” After portraying Lucifer’s growing pride and eventual fall from grace—and the angelic rebellion that followed—the author writes: “At the appropriate time, Michael announced that a new and different type of creation was about to commence. This new creation would take place in a dimension that would allow the accuser, Satan, to have some access.” Then God, apparently with the assistance of Michael, effortlessly forms the known universe along the timeline of the widely known Genesis account. Here Szana begins his effective, wide-ranging use of life experiences to provide metaphors for the Creation, including such diverse things as the beauty of tulip fields, the thrill of snorkeling, and the joy of laughter. Eventually, he moves on to the flood story, deftly centering on Noah but apparently also drawing on other cultures’ narratives (asserting, for instance, that God brought to Earth the rings of Saturn, which provided water for the deluge). Again, Lucifer/Satan plays a major role, and the book ends with his persecution of Job and what that tale has to teach readers. Szana is a creative writer who takes license with theology and biblical authenticity but who skillfully places his own self squarely into the narrative in order to personalize his work.

A singular and heartfelt retelling of the beginnings of time.

Pub Date: June 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-973659-38-9

Page Count: 198

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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