Friday, May 18, 2012

Death and the Beta-Male

50 Book Challenge, Book #18: A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

I enjoy Christopher Moore's darkly irreverant humour a lot, yet somehow I'd never gotten around to this one. So finally I did :)

Charlie Asher is a 'beta-male'. He's owns his own businesss (a second hand store in San Francisco), he's married to a woman who loves him, they're expecting their first child, he has a good life overall. And then everything changes when his beloved wife dies shorty after giving birth and Charlie is enlisted into the ranks of the Death Merchants.

Like a lot of Moore's books, this one is bitter sweet. I mean, how can it not be, the main subject is death. But of course he injects his own, strange humour into it to soften the hardship of Charlie raising his daughter Sophie and trying to just go on after his wife's death. Oh, and learn the ways of being a Death Merchant as well.

I loved the Morrigan, the Hellhounds, the two older ladies who help Charlie look after Sophie (I think I must start appending half of what I say with 'like bear', cause yeah, that's funny). And Charlie himself who is a hero despite his beta-maleness :)

Also it's always good to see the Emperor and his two faithful dogs again. Didn't like? Having recently finished Moore's vampire trilogy, Lily felt very derivative to me (and had I read this before those books, then Abby would've felt derivative). I get that the two characters are friends, but they also share the same basic personality it seems.

And... well, I admit it's not the ending I wanted. It honestly felt a little rushed. But overall though, still a good read and as usual for his books, had me laughing out loud quite a few times.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Book # 17 - Friend of My Youth by Alice Munro

I find it difficult to review Munro's stories. I love them, I love the sense of disquiet they leave me with (because that's always the feeling I get from them), but as they're all short stories and while marvelous, I am too lazy to get into the intricacies of them all... heh.

Munro's stories are deeply female-centric, usually take place in small-town Ontario (or small-town elsewhere in Canada) and are coming of age tales. Whether the coming of age happens to be a young girl, a teenager, a 40-something wife and mother having a midlife crisis, it doesn't really matter, they all discover something about themselves or their situation. And a lot of it is rarely... good. There's a strong undercurrent of melancholy in her stories, a near... fatalism about the inevitable passage of time. And yet, despite this, I wouldn't call her stories depressing by any stretch of the imagination. If anything, I think I love her stories because they feel real.