New Yorker humorist Rich sets up his second novel (after Elliot Allagash) like one of his “Shouts & Murmurs” pieces. The conceit this time: God truly created man in his own feckless image: “With that whole mankind thing?” the CEO of Heaven Inc. admits, “I bit off way more than I could chew,” and decides to destroy the Earth and finally realize his lifelong dream of opening an Asian-American restaurant. Only Craig and Eliza, two angels working in the Department of Miracles, seem to care, so God tells them if they can answer just one prayer in a month, he’ll keep the Earth open for business. Unfortunately, the challenge is to unite Sam Katz and Laura Potts, two pining, painfully shy 23-year-olds living blocks apart in Manhattan, acquaintances whose chance encounters, so far, have been “worse than when Lincoln gets shot.” Prohibited from doing anything the humans could perceive as supernatural, the angels’ meddling is restricted to dream-work, iPhone hacking, traffic signal tampering, weather manipulation and, in overweight Sam’s case, a botulism attack. But at month’s end, the two—like Craig and Eliza in their own budding romance—must make their own moves. Humanity depends upon it. Agent: Daniel Greenberg, the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Founder and CEO of Heaven, Inc., a bored God is about to ditch Earth when two starry-eyed angels from the Department of Miracles intervene. If they can convince Earth's two most socially maladjusted souls to fall in love, then the planet will be saved. Former president of the Harvard Lampoon, a four-time Emmy nominee for his writing on Saturday Night Live, Rich has credentials in the Department of Laughs.