an apology of a God


Senior Member
Here is a passage from The Thorn Birds, a novel by Colleen McCullough. My question is about Mary's epithet of God as "a mean, spiteful, pitiful apology of a God." What does this mean? What does the word "apology" mean here?

"Old age is the bitterest vengeance our vengeful God inflicts upon us. Why doesn't He age our minds as well? ... I shall go to Hell, of course. But before I do, I hope I get the chance to tell God what a mean, spiteful, pitiful apology of a God He is!"
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    An apology for something (in this sense) is not a very good one. It's a bad example. It's one you feel you have to apologize for: 'Sorry, this is the only one we've got / I could find.'


    Senior Member
    English - British
    Yes, it ought to be 'apology for a God' meaning 'inadequate substitute for a God'.

    'An apology of a God' would mean 'a God that amounts to an apology (for some other thing)', which makes no good sense.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    More idiomatic in AE would be to say "a pitiful excuse for a god."

    Colleen McCullough was Australian. Maybe it's the Australian version.
    < Previous | Next >