Golfing with God: A Novel of Heaven and Earth

Golfing with God: A Novel of Heaven and Earth

by Roland Merullo
     
 

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Herman "Hank" Fins-Winston was a pro golfer destined for greatness. Now he lives in a condominium on the thirteenth fairway of one of heaven's glorious courses – a fact he finds surprising and amusing, since for one reason or another, a fair percentage of golfers never make it to paradise. Hank is having the time of his afterlife until he's summoned

Overview

Herman "Hank" Fins-Winston was a pro golfer destined for greatness. Now he lives in a condominium on the thirteenth fairway of one of heaven's glorious courses – a fact he finds surprising and amusing, since for one reason or another, a fair percentage of golfers never make it to paradise. Hank is having the time of his afterlife until he's summoned one idyllic morning to play a round with the Almighty. It seems that God is having some trouble with His game. As they play the heavenly courses, both in paradise and back on earth, Hank comes to realize that what began as a golf lesson has become a spiritual journey.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An engaging plot, humor . . . and a theology that's humane."
—The Boston Globe
The Washington Post
"The tale of Hank the earthly golf pro and God the eternal swinger is engagingly and wittily told. . . Amid the laughs and playful banter,Golfing with God is a serious story of self-examination and growth, the hardest games of all." — Washington Post Book World
Boston Globe
"An engaging plot, humor . . . and a theology that's humane."
—The Boston Globe
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"A literary fantasy that elevates the game of golf to a spiritual quest shared with the Creator."—The Sunday Seattle Times & Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Coleman McCarthy
The tale of Hank the earthly pro and God the eternal swinger is engagingly and wittily told by Roland Merullo.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Merullo (Passion for Golf) blends knowledge of the game with glimpses into his spiritual journey in this engaging story of golf, the after-life and "the spiritual education of one soul." Former golf professional Herman Fins-Winston has been enjoying heaven between reincarnations long enough to play several of its 8,187 excellent golf courses. When God, who finds golf his only relaxation after minding the universe, has trouble short putting because of the "yips," He (alternately called "She") summons Herman to help. It turns out that God has a "divine" swing, uses old persimmon woods and regularly hits 390-yard tee shots. Merullo infuses his own brand of theology into the story. (On getting into heaven: "You only have to try, to want it, to be sincere about wanting it. You have to not have hurt anyone too badly in your most recent previous life.") The first section, set in heaven, is stronger than the second, in which God (in the persona of a young trophy wife whom Herman dreams of taking to bed) travels with Herman back to earth. There, they play some of the best golf courses in search of the golf greatness he missed in his previous life. Inevitably, Herman's golfing prowess leads to a showdown with evil. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Merullo won the Massachusetts Book Award in 2003 for his memoir, Revere Beach Elegy, and followed up that success with the romance A Little Love Story. This latest title will garner him even greater success with its Lovely Bones-like use of a deceased narrator. Herman "Hank" Fins-Winston tells his story from the vantage point of his condominium on the 13th fairway of one of heaven's thousands of golf courses. An avid golfer, he spends his days hitting the green with the likes of Buddha and Moses. When he is asked to help none other than God improve his/her game, Hank suddenly finds himself the student, learning the most important lessons of his afterlife. This New Age novel will appeal to fans of Alice Sebold and Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven; highly recommended for public libraries everywhere.-Nanci Milone Hill, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The author of two novels set around Boston (In Revere, In Those Days, 2002, etc.) switches to religious allegory. The working-class Italian characters in Merullo's earlier books would probably be startled to learn that "there are 8,187 golf courses in heaven" and that "God golfs." Narrator Herman Fins-Winston is perfectly happy playing a few rounds and relaxing in heaven, but God's game has developed problems, and He/She enlists Herman to provide a few pointers. That's what Herman (professional name Hank Winston) did down on Earth as a golf coach after he blew a crucial shot and dropped out of the PGA tour in the 1950s. Some 30 mortal years later, he's dead but still has unfinished spiritual business; God's case of "the yips" (the inability to make short putts) is a pretext for getting Herman back to Earth to put him through a series of tests that, if he passes, will enable him to achieve his true destiny as a golf champion. The set-up is strained, but just as the reader is prepared to scream if subjected to one more accepting-the-divine-order-is-like-accepting-golf sermon, or another bizarre set of 18 holes with (for example) Jesus, Mary and Moses, Merullo partly redeems his story of absurdity by applying his wonderful skills of observation and reflection. Playing at elite courses like Augusta National, with God accompanying him in the form of an attractive young wife, Herman encounters compelling characters both human (an abrasive son and worried father) and semi-divine (a marvelously earthy "scout" who may be a reincarnation of Herman's father). He learns something from each game, especially the one with Satan, and even his lust for God's female body takes him closer to the "intimacywith the divine intelligence" that he really craves. Some fine prose and a genuine sense of spiritual longing make this better than the premise would suggest. Adventuresome-but Merullo's fans will still be waiting for that promised third installment of the Revere Beach Trilogy.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565125490
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
05/11/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
286
Sales rank:
376,550
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.31(h) x 0.81(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A beautifully told tale that will have you in its otherworldly grasp from the opening page…The best golfing novel I've ever read!"—James Dodson, author of Final Rounds

Meet the Author

Roland Merullo is the critically acclaimed author of five books of nonfiction and twelve novels, including the Revere Beach Trilogy, Golfing with God, Breakfast with Buddha, The Vatican Waltz, and Dinner with Buddha. He lives with his wife and children in Massachusetts. His website is www.rolandmerullo.com.

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