This novel by Christopher Moore attempts to combine fantastical characters and outrageous situations with some very realistic observations of families coping with a dying loved one. I am not entirely certain that the author was completely successful in accomplishing this. There was some deeply sincere discussion of hospice and the tragedy of loss, but the book really jumped over the edge of being ridiculous.
When I first started to read it I felt as if I were being drawn into a standard Twilight Zone-like version of the “Death Merchant” and the main character, Charlie, a beta male, was just another grim reaper. As I read further, I was delightfully surprised as Christopher Moore’s characters came to life…even the Morrigan, evil creatures that live in the sewers of San Francisco, and the squirrel people, bazaar as they were.
I read this about a month ago and was waiting to see how my book club members felt about the book before I posted. I think I can safely say that you will love it or you will hate it. I personally loved it. Some of my book club members got into some really heavy philosophical discussion on theology and the metaphysical that I really did not feel that the book warranted. That a soul could occupy an inanimate object really seemed to bother some. I feel that the author, with his nutty characters like Lily, the goth girl, Minty Fresh, the pimp, the Emperor, and others, did not intend the book to be anything more than humorous entertainment with a touch of horror and emotion. In that regard he was more than successful.
My only disappointment was in the ending. I like to be surprised and I wasn’t. I sort of figured out what was likely to happen early in the book when the hellhounds were introduced. There was another aspect to the ending that I was sort of disappointed in, but I’ll let you figure that out.
I would give this book a five star rating, because I was one of the 50% who really liked it. I would certainly recommend the book to anyone who enjoys an easy read of contemporary fantasy.