If I had to choose one book to take to a desert island, I would probably choose Good Omens. Not only for tactical reasons – two incredible authors in one book – but because it is a book that you can read again and again and it remains as fresh and as hilarious as ever. Like Pratchett’s brilliant Discworld novels, Good Omens is full to the brim with witty ideas and observations that tend to reside quietly in your brain and later sneak up on you at unexpected moments, colouring – and brightening – your whole view of the world. I will never look at the M25 or Milton Keynes in the same way again. And the word ‘ineffable’ makes me think of Aziraphale every time (who, thanks to the brilliant BBC Radio 4 adaptation, will forever be Mark Heap in my head – and Crowley will always be played by Peter Serafinowicz).
I was looking through my lovely hardback edition, which has a cover illustration by the wonderful Joe McLaren*, to try and find some good quips to include as examples in this post. I’m not exaggerating when I say that every page has a gem (or two or three). It’s a good job I’ll be alone on this desert island, because I make very unattractive noises when reading Good Omens: snorts, sniggers, giggles, even the occasional guffaw, which I’m afraid would make me quite annoying to be around. This one gets me every time:
25 And the Lord spake unto the Angel that guarded the eastern gate, saying Where is the flaming sword which was given unto thee?
26 And the Angel said, I had it here only a moment ago, I must have put it down somewhere, forget my own head next.
27 And the Lord did not ask him again.
That’s not to say that Good Omens is funny just for the sake of it. Humour is simply the medium through which pertinent things are considered and commented upon. Because that’s what good comedy is for, isn’t it?
I could go on forever with praise for Good Omens, but I’d prefer to hear what you think! Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment with your thoughts.
Finally, seeing as this website is called Kraken Reads, I thought it would be appropriate to end with a slightly drunk Aziraphale explaining to Crowley what a kraken actually is:
‘Kraken,’ said Aziraphale, staring moodily into his glass.
Crowley gave him the long cool look of someone who has just had a girder dropped in front of his train of thought.
‘Great big bugger,’ said Aziraphale. ‘Sleepeth beneath the thunders of the upper deep. Under loads of huge and unnumbered polypol – polipo – bloody great seaweeds, you know. Supposed to rise to the surface right at the end, when the sea boils.’
*Joe McLaren also illustrated the covers for the Discworld Collector’s Library. It was recently announced that the agreement for the Collector’s Library has been extended to cover the whole of the Discworld series – and to put it mildly, I’M VERY EXCITED!!! 😀