Golfing with God: A Novel of Heaven and Earth

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...

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Golfing with God: A Novel of Heaven and Earth

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

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
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
Boston Globe
"An engaging plot, humor . . . and a theology that's humane."
—The Boston Globe
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565125018
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 11/28/2005
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Roland Merullo, is the critically acclaimed author of seven books, including the Revere Beach Trilogy, three novels about growing up in a tight-knit community outside Boston, and Golfing with God, a novel about a man's unexpected spiritual journey. He lives with his wife and two daughters in eastern Massachusetts.

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2006

    uplifting novel

    My heart actually skipped a beat at times when I read this novel. I recently experienced the sudden death of my husband, also a golfer, and this book was cathartic in helping me through this loss.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2005

    Silliest Book Ever

    Knowing I am an avid golfer my wife picked this book up for me. Out of respect to her I plowed through it but it had to be the silliest book I have EVER read! It is hard to write good golf fiction and this is probably one of the worst. The author mixes religion and golf and he blends it like oil and vinegar. Save your time and money.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2005

    We should all live life as golf should be played!

    I enjoyed the author's vivid imagination discribing his perception of heaven, how we get there and life as it can be experienced. At times I laughed out loud but then found myself rapidly turning the pages anticipating the next encounter. Great read for those that enjoy the game and life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2005

    A very enlightening story

    This is a wonderful story. If you are a golf fanatic (and have even a rudimentary imagination) you will find this book enjoyable. It is a story of one man's trials on earth and in heaven and has lessons for us all, lessons in life and in golf. The author¿s description of heaven and how the universes work is wildly original, interesting and at times funny. Imagine playing golf with God who one day is in the form of a man and another day in the form of a woman and hits massive drives yet suffers from the very human golf ailment, the yips. Golf is just a metaphor for how we live and how we act in this life, in lives past and future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    A Christian Version of Breakfast with Buddha

    Much like Merullo's other book Breakfast with Buddha, this book deals with a somewhat selfish somewhat skeptical Middle-aged Male who has a spiritual journey forced upon him by circumstances beyond his control. This time the character dies and goes to heaven and is approached to fix God's Yips during his golf game. Is it a way to force a spiritual quest upon the character or is God really in need of Golf coaching? What happens is an examination of life, spirituality, religion, etc. brought on by the Golf coaching job. I liked the book. I liked the Breakfast with Buddha book. But in both I haven't liked the main character. My prejudice? Maybe. But in both books I found myself not liking the main character and being a little put off by how dense or insensitive they seemed to religious or spiritual matters. Maybe it's because neither character ever questioned their lives until God or Rinpoche forced them to. And they seem so self satisfied (smug almost) before and so spiritually aware after. But still in all I recommend both books. This one maybe a B+.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2008

    This is a must read if you play golf!

    If you are a golfer this is a must read! It is humerous, philosophical, and brilliantly written. I highly recommend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2006

    A FUN-FILLED AND INSIGHTFUL BOOK

    Roland Merullo has created a fine book! I laughed aloud a number of times and was alway eager to see what was going to happen next. I would recommend this book to anyone who either likes golf, or else thinks they might experience the transition known as death sometime in their future. Falling into either catergory would be good. Both, of course, would be best!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2005

    8,187 golf courses in heaven and growing, Wow!

    Hey, where else can you play a round of golf with Jesus, Moses and Mary, beat the Devil by one stroke and save humanity while taking a road trip with God. My golf game just got less complicated.

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