Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Dirty Job, Christopher Moore

I have been in love with Christopher Moore since I read Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. I am ashamed to say that while I have read nearly every book he has written, I own zero. He is a writer you can read, relish and release. Kinda like fishing the eco-friendly way. What is interesting is that I read his books, including his latest, without ever really reading anything about him. I didn't go online and read interviews or even check out his website. I just loved to read him, laugh a lot, and wallow in the disturbingly quirky humor his books embody. But I didn't truly want to know anything about him. I wanted to be a fan of the books, not of the author. But since he is coming to my store and I have to interact with the man as a part of my job, I wanted to learn a little more about the actual author. I found this in an online interview which explained so much:

With a desire to do for the horror novel what the brilliantly belated Douglas Adams had done for sci-fi with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I love Douglas Adams. Have loved him for over a decade. Easily. And I also love Chuck Pahlaniuk, of the literary horror genre. Combine the two and you get Christopher Moore's writing. Slightly perverse, a little cynical, but honest and very, very funny. I don't want to say that he is highbrow writing, because he's really not, but you do have to have a certain perversity to "get" his humor, just like you have to be pretty dry to "get" Douglas Adams. Other things Moore finds funny? Mil Millington, My Name is Earl, Billy Collins and The Daily Show. None of which are surprising.

So in the latest Moore book, we have some repeat characters (like the Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs) and we have new ones fashioned in the usual vein of bumbling, slightly neurotic, totally genuine men and strong, sassy, sexy women. Our "hero" Charlie Asher is a man utterly devoted to his wife and while anxious about the birth of his first child, is eager to be a daddy. When his wife dies and a strange black man dressed in mint green (Minty Fresh) appears in the hospital room with his deceased wife, Asher realizes things are about to get really weird. Weirder than he could have ever imagined, even with his overactive, paranoid imagination. And on this journey we meet Death Merchants, hellhounds, the Morrigan, glowing red secondhand store items, ballroom-gowned squirrels (sort of), and try to save San Francisco (and ultimately the world) from the rising Forces of Darkness.

Typically Moore, typically paced so that you truly do not want to put the book down until you know what happens even with the sense that in Moore's books everything turns out well in the end (or at least, things turn out as they should) and typically laugh-out-loud funny to the point of wanting to read certain blurbs to random strangers even though you know that out-of-context it just isn't nearly as hilarious: like trying to explain an inside joke. And ultimately that's what Moore feels like: one big inside joke that you wish the whole world could "get."

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