I had high hopes for Simon Rich's first novel. His collections Ant Farm and Free-Range Chickens are both excellent. What in God's Name is at best sporadically funny, and occasionally goes for a laugh at the expense of the clinically depressed. Maybe if I enjoyed the humor of awkwardness more I would have better enjoyed this book.
The plot is that God has declared the human project a failure and plans to bring it to an end. Two low ranking angels try to change his mind. God makes a bet with the angels that he will spare humanity if they can get two socially awkward introverts to kiss before the end of the month. Naturally the relationship of the two angels parallels the two awkward humans. The core of the story is basically a Romance novel about an awkward couple playing matchmaker for an even more awkward couple.
The best parts of the novel are the scenes with God. Rich depicts God as a CEO who has completely checked-out and cares about nothing but beer and golf. God seems like a decent guy who is way over his head in a job too big for anyone to do. I wish Rich had focused on God and Heaven Inc. as a religious satire rather than segueing into a marginally funny romance.