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Act of God: A Novel Hardcover – Mar 3 2015

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (March 3 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307911705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307911704
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #621,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Praise for Jill Ciment’s
“A gem of a book that ultimately focuses on the best parts about the human race. I kind of love it for that.”
                                                          -My Bookish Ways
 “Funny, scary . . . It’s human behavior that interests Ciment, and that runs the gamut from enjoyably ridiculous to surprisingly sublime in her tragicomedy of errors.”
                                                          -Wendy Smith, The Daily Beast
“Ciment’s book is a compact, droll farce, light-hearted and pleasurable as a chocolate truffle, yet with a nugget of hard, somewhat unpalatable truths in the center . . . Ultimately, Ciment towers forth with her own brilliant voice . . . Her interweaving plotlines are so nimbly handled that every development seems simultaneously unpredictable, yet organically predetermined. The story might sometimes appear to be a massive clockwork, but it has the astonishing intricacy of the finest Old World municipal tower clock, where astonishing figures pirouette in and out of every niche . . . Ciment has the bracing mindset of Ambrose Bierce or Mark Twain, George Alec Effinger or Tom Disch.”
                                                          -Paul di Fillipo, Locus Magazine
“This short novel deepens into a darker, Job-like comedy.”
                                                                   -Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Ciment’s nightmare-comedy reads like an urbane spin on the Book of Job, written in the wake of Superstorm Sandy . . . An antic yet poignant study of who you become when you lose everything . . . Lively secondary characters add to the book’s zest . . . Ciment’s sense of absurdity is keen . . . Laugh-out-loud funny in its first half, the book grows more thorny and trenchant in its wit toward the end. Either way, from start to finish, it’s invigoratingly unpredictable.”
                                                          -Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times
“Remarkable . . . a novel that is as surprising and moving as nature itself . . . ‘Act of God’ is a work to be treasured, respected and, most of all, enjoyed — like life itself.”
                                                          -Laura Farmer, Cedar Rapids Gazette
“Rich, quirky characterizations, witty insights into human nature and cruel twists of fate turn the initial absurdity of the narrative into a profound, suspenseful story . . . thoroughly entertaining and unforgettable.”
-Kathleen Gerard, Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)
“A darkly comic jewel of a novel . . . ACT OF GOD is an act of love, one that  is no less funny or endearing for the toughness with which it is bestowed.”
                                                          -Jan Stuart, Boston Globe
“This novel breezes along, fizzing with wit as it sails . . . Ms. Ciment’s interestingly quirky — but not cute — characters suggest human buoyancy, while her deft sentences and cleverly chosen details set a bracing pace that keeps the full force of the novel’s questions about responsibility and forgiveness in check until the last page is turned. Then readers may look back and consider what we might really mean by an act of God.”
                                                          -Claire Hopley, Washington Times
“In this swiftly paced, niftily written comedy turned horror novel, even the most settled lives are upended, the tiniest character flaws come back to bite, and love and redemption arrive when you least expect them.”
                                                                   -Amanda Lovell, More
“Keenly intelligent . . . Ciment orchestrates an increasingly complicated plot with consummate skill . . . In fewer than 200 pages, Ciment has pulled off an admirable literary feat, creating a novel that moves at the speed of light, all the while urging us to pause and look inward.”
                                                         -Harvey Freedenberg, BookPage
“Beautiful, tightly controlled, and fascinating . . . Both the plotting and writing are very strong, and the moody, slow-burn fascination of the story makes this one a winner.”
“In a feat of literary magic, Ciment slips an abundance of suspenseful action, incisive humor, far-ranging wisdom, and complex emotion into this inventive, caring, devour-all-at-once novel of self, family, community, and doing right.”
“Humanity, warmth and wry humor light up Ciment's noirish novel . . . This absorbing novel about a luminescent fungus affixes itself to your psyche like a spore and quickly spreads to your heart, setting everything in its wake aglow.”
                                                                   -Kirkus (Starred Review)

About the Author

JILL CIMENT was born in Montreal, Canada. She is the author of Small Claims, a collection of short stories and novellas; the novels The Law of Falling Bodies, Teeth of the Dog, The Tattoo Artist, and Heroic Measures; and a memoir, Half a Life. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, among them a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, two New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships, the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, and a Guggenheim fellowship. Ciment is a professor at the University of Florida. She lives in Gainesville, Florida, and Brooklyn, New York.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio Cassette
At 2:00 PM on a chilly, overcast afternoon, the first Tuesday in February, The Seattle Family Services Center shuddered on its foundation and exploded with a sound that shook the city. An extremist's bomb had killed almost 200 men, women and children. For more than half a century the Seattle clinic had provided full family services to the community, including multilevel family counseling, obstetric and gynecological services, and comprehensive day care facilities. The media had dubbed the Center an abortion clinic, and it had become the focus for pro-choice and pro-life extremists as a rallying point to further their causes. The local citizenry, the entire nation, are horrified and tremendous pressure is put on the police and FBI to capture, try, and execute the perpetrator.
A young, clean-cut Naval officer is finally arrested for the crime, and high powered defense attorney Dana McAuliffe, a partner at the prestigious Seattle firm of Cotter Boland and Grace is persuaded to take the case. Dana is brilliant, confident, successful, and has made her way in a primarily man's world. As she becomes more acquainted with her client and the facts of the case, she begins to seriously doubt his guilt. Organizations on both side of the abortion issue have a political hay-day over the trial. It is a presidential election year and the leading candidate has promised to do everything in his power to repeal Rowe vs. Wade. A friend of Cotter Boland and Grace's senior partner, who wishes to remain anonymous, is paying for the defense. Confidential details of Dana's private life begin to appear in the tabloids as the trial commences, and evidence of possible jury tampering surfaces - from a very surprising source.
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Format: Hardcover
When it comes to books I'm a bit of a sexist. Yeah, I can admitt it. When scanning down the racks at my local bookstore and I see the name of the author is female, I usualy keep scanning. Not that I haven't tried. Yet often when I decide to take the chance to read a female author I struggle through the book trying to relate with the characters.
I really can't tell you why I picked up this book. Not only my horribly sexist outlook on reading but the fact that the last two books I read on the subject of abortion were at best mediocre. Both books were full of cliche situations and took them selves way to seriously.
Then I read Susan R. Sloan's Act of God. What instantly impressed me was the humor of the novel. Often when author's take on such a sensitive subject they try to handle in with sensativity, henceforth a dry and humorless tale. Here Sloan attacks the situation with an almost Hiaasenesque flare which borders on over the top. Yet the humor doesn't overshadow the seriousness of the situation.
The other thing I really liked about the book was the courtroom scene. More and more of our legal thrillers have turned into lawyer as detective stories, never really entering the courthouse. When they do actually try a case rarely does it ever play out to its natural conclusion. Usually some big secret is revealed and the defendents life is never place in the hands of the jury. Here Sloan takes us step by step through an exciting trial with to likeable adversaries.
Whatever your take is on this subject matter, I recommed reading this book. Maybe I have finally found the female author I can relate to.
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Format: Hardcover
Act of God is a compelling, richly detailed legal thriller with a bit of an edge. As such it stands in a class by itself, apart from other formulaic courtroom dramas.
The crime--a horrible act of violence and destruction at a Seattle health clinic.
The alleged perpetrator--Corey Dean Latham, a young clean-cut naval officer.
The defense attorney--prestigious law firm partner Dana McAuliffe, who comes across like a modern-day Superwoman with her solid, upwardly moving law career and her loving, supportive husband and young daughter.
The jury--a group of interesting and unique individuals faced with the daunting task of condemning a man to death for his supposed actions--if he's guilty.
The verdict--in the court of public opinion, Corey Latham has already been tried and convicted before the case even goes to trial. Proving her client's innocence will be the most difficult case Dana has ever had, but despite her initial misgivings, she thinks she's ready for the challenge.
From the lawyers on opposing sides, to the members of the jury, to Corey's friends and family, to the victims and survivors of the incident at Hill House, everyone believes they know the truth. But Sloan's neatly unfolding story proves that the truth is never as simple as it might seem.
Susan R. Sloan has created a very real, very human cast of characters in a a story that just may change the way you think--about the American justice system and the explosive issues of abortion, violence in the name of religion and morality, and making difficult and possibly deadly choices. Act of God is full of plausible twists and surprises, from the beginning to the last startling sentence over 500 fascinating pages later.
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