REVIEW OF FIRST EDITION:
Dale Estey's The Elephant Talks to God is, first and foremost, a witty, satirical book about the relationship between mortals and an immortal creator. Some inner clues make it clear that Estey is a Catholic and the story was first written shortly after a rapid succession of popes back when John-Paul I died a month after beginning his reign, and there is a wholly gratuitous dig at Jehovah's Witnesses, but these flaws aside, the book is charming without cloying, and I enjoyed it enormously. We can see again why Aesop chose to tell his fables from the point of view of animals rather than human beings -- the very animalness of the hero helps clarify the vital issues involved, as the story separates the incidental details of individual life from the more general verities. In other words, fables use animals the way science fiction uses aliens, to explain human behavior by putting it in a strange context.
Just to give you a taste of this particular fable, here's a snatch of dialogue when the elephant expresses dissatisfaction with one of God's answers:
"That's not up to me," said God, and the cloud started moving away.
"That's it?" asked the elephant. "It's not up to you?"
"Sorry," said God.
"That's not very profound," shouted the elephant at the disappearing cloud.
"You're only an elephant," answered God.