If You Want to Make God Laugh Summary and Reviews

If You Want to Make God Laugh

by Bianca Marais

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais X
If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2019
    448 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A rich, unforgettable story of three unique women in post-Apartheid South Africa who are brought together in their darkest time and discover the ways that love can transcend the strictest of boundaries.

In a squatter camp on the outskirts of Johannesburg, seventeen-year-old Zodwa lives in desperate poverty, under the shadowy threat of a civil war and a growing AIDS epidemic. Eight months pregnant, Zodwa carefully guards secrets that jeopardize her life.

Across the country, wealthy socialite Ruth appears to have everything her heart desires, but it's what she can't have that leads to her breakdown. Meanwhile, in Zaire, a disgraced former nun, Delilah, grapples with a past that refuses to stay buried. When these personal crises send both middle-aged women back to their rural hometown to heal, the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby upends everything, challenging their lifelong beliefs about race, motherhood, and the power of the past.

As the mystery surrounding the infant grows, the complicated lives of Zodwa, Ruth, and Delilah become inextricably linked. What follows is a mesmerizing look at family and identity that asks: How far will the human heart go to protect itself and the ones it loves?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Lovely....Marais showcases her talent for pulling beauty from the pain of South African history with a strong story and wonderfully imperfect characters." - Publishers Weekly

"Marais strikes a jaunty tone even as she salts her story with rape, HIV, racism, and homophobia. The writing is breathless and fraught...Every character could use a copy of Girl, Stop Apologizing." - Kirkus Reviews

"A moving portrait of the choices women can make--and the ones we can't. Beautifully crafted and powerfully drawn, this book had me in tears." - Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost and More Than Words

"Told with meticulous detail and compassion, If You Want to Make God Laugh is a portrait of a country in transition--and of three women at their own crossroads. Bianca Marais shines light on the injustices and barriers experienced by her characters without shying away from their complicated humanity." - Chloe Benjamin, bestselling author of The Immortalists and The Anatomy of Dreams

"A story of three remarkable women at crossroads in their own lives against the backdrop of South Africa at the moment of stunning transformation that will keep you reading late into the night. Marais deftly completes a writer's hat trick, leaving you gutted, smiling through tears and soaring with hope." - Steven Rowley, bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor

"Bianca Marias' gripping second novel twists and turns from one end of Johannesburg to the other....Hard to put down, emotionally riveting, and tackling tough subjects with grace, If You Want to Make God Laugh shows how the resilience of the human spirit can triumph over the most traumatic circumstances." - Siobhan Fallon, author of You Know When the Men Are Gone and The Confusion of Languages

"You will absolutely love this book. You will. Why? Because Bianca Marais's heart is immense and full of love. With unsparing insight into the human condition, she unspools a tale that is at once heartbreaking as it is merciful, validating our frailty while eulogizing our endless capacity for generosity and love. We all need the deep refuge of Bianca Marais's exceptional voice." - Robin Oliveira, author of My Name is Mary Sutter and I Always Loved You

The information about If You Want to Make God Laugh shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Bianca Marais

Bianca Marais is the author of Hum If You Don't Know the Words. She holds a certificate in creative writing from the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies, where she now teaches creative writing. Before turning to writing, she started a corporate training company and volunteered with Cotlands, where she assisted care workers in Soweto with providing aid for HIV/AIDS orphans. Originally from South Africa, she now resides in Toronto with her husband.

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