The Old Man and Mr. Smith: A Fable
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The Old Man and Mr. Smith: A Fable

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  332 ratings  ·  23 reviews
The Old Man, overweight and out of shape, and Mr. Smith, small and dark, are God and Satan, returned to Planet Earth on a fact-finding mission.
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published May 1st 1991 by Arcade Pub (first published 1990)
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Corleen gallinger
I think this was one of THE most enjoyable books I have ever read. Helps I heard SIr Ustinov do a reading from the book and as such I had 'voices' for the Old Man and Mr. Smith. If you can find a copy you must read it!
With Peter Ustinov being extremely accomplished at everything he touched, actor, dramatist, screen designer, author etc, etc (the list of his talents is endless), I was expecting a good read, and I definitely wasn't disappointed. The story is about God (the Old Man) and the Devil (Mr. Smith) deciding to become mortal on earth for a while, whilst becoming re-acquainted with each other and 'burying the hatchet'. The story was funny, thought-provoking, and interesting, bringing into the equation so...more
Aletha Tavares
Jun 12, 2007 Aletha Tavares rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: need a laugh
very few know of Peter Ustinov as a writer- this book is absolutely brilliant & one could also set a play on this- the dialogues are fabulous- god & the devil descend to earth in 20th century & get locked up in jail nd then are on the run getting chased by the FBI, the Interpol and they land up in India and are recognised for who they are. It depicts how God is so out of date with things on earth & it is the devil, mr. smith, who has to keep getting GOD out of trouble.
The book was entertaining at times, and a little slow at others. Ustinov used a non-traditional, mortal portrayal of God and Satan to make some points about religion and the nature of belief. The book was not quite as clever as the author seemed to think it was and got repetitive on occasion (the same conflicts with the same resolutions, over and over).
However, there was some good banter back and forth between the two supernatural beings, and some interesting theological ideas. The idea that mo...more
Sir Peter Ustinov legt ein Buch vor, wie es kaum ein anderer fabrizieren kann. Immer leuchtet sein Genius durch. Dies betrifft die Geschichte und ihren Verlauf ebenso wie die sprachliche Fassung und die vielen versteckten Anspielungen, die man oft erst beim zweiten Lesen findet. Gott und Satan, so postuliert er gleich zu Beginn, sind keine Gegner, sondern vielmehr notwendige Gegensätze damit der andere überhaupt existieren kann. Es gäbe kein Weiß, wenn es kein Schwarz gäbe.

Gott und Satan sind da...more
I enjoyed the concept of the Old Man and Mr. Smith, but the conversations started to get preachy and were enough different from my spiritual concepts to make me not want to continue.
Ron Fitzwater
Absolutely my second favorite book of all time, second only to the Hitchhikers Guide series. My not appeal to everyone, especially those with strong religious convictions; however, it is a charming read.
God and Satan visit the Earth, and experience what us mortals live through every day. Lovely book, lot of satire, humour, lot of contemplation about the brilliance and the follies of human race...

A touch personal, and it would seem like Ustinov has given voice to his views about humanity via the characters, but then, he at least considered two sides of the coin.

Έξυπνη υπόθεση και ένα βιβλίο που καυτηριάζει έντονα καταστάσεις της νεώτατης ιστορίας και τον τρόπου της σύγχρονη καθημερινότητας. Ωστόσο με κούρασε και το τελείωσα με δυσκολία. Οι δύο ασυνήθιστοι γέροι όπου και να πηγαίνουν μπλέκουν. Γυρνούν τον κόσμο ολόκληρο, τους κυνηγά η αστυνομία και όσο περισσότερο μένουν στην γη τόσο χάνουν από τις υπερκόσμιες δυνάμεις τους.
Louise Henderson
Very witty and thought provoking.
I didn't enjoy the book all that much, but we read it for book club and I really enjoyed the discussion surrounding it. It's a story about god and the devil returning to earth in modern day. It really brought out a lot of assumptions about how we think about god and the devil and forced you to really consider "what would Jesus do?"
This was one of Max's earliest book suggestions, and definitely one of my favorites. God and the devil come to earth together to try and make sense of things...
It's a bit dated, but still has many funny bits -- definitely good for a laugh or six.
Couldn't finish it. Having other more interesting books interrupt my involvement in this book has meant that I can't be bothered going back to pick up the thread. Oh well, another one for the charity shop pile.
Easy reading and the voice of Peter definitely comes through.
I pictured The Old Man as Peter Ustinov and Mr. Smith as Andy Hamilton for some reason - perhaps down to Old Harry's Game!
Chanel Earl
I was too young to understand this book completely when I read it. I remember that I enjoyed it, but that I was shocked by it at the same time. I would like to read it again.
In this book God and Satan come down to earth, in disguise, to check how things are going. I find most of Peter Ustinov's books perceptive and gently humorous.
"I am not afraid to change my mind. In fact, I encourage myself to do so, regularly. To worry my sense of truth as a dog worries a bone."
God (The Old Man) and Mr. Smith (the Devil) come back to earth for a fact finding tour.
Caroline Edwards
it was a great read, very well written
Sep 23, 2012 Eleftheria rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eleftheria by: Graf
Shelves: greek, fiction
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Dec 28, 2008 Roos is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add page numbers 4 30 Mar 08, 2013 01:13AM  
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Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov, CBE, was a British actor, writer and dramatist.

He was also renowned as a filmmaker, theatre and opera director, director, stage designer, screenwriter, comedian, humorist, newspaper and magazine columnist, radio broadcaster and television presenter.

A noted wit and raconteur, he was, for much of his career, a fixture on television talk shows and lecture circuits, as wel...more
More about Peter Ustinov...
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