Monday, April 28, 2008

Christopher Moore

The peak of Christopher Moore's career was when he wrote Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal and Fluke: Or I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings. His previous novels, despite their amusing titles (Island of the Sequined Love Nun, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove), just lead up to those two. (But take note: they are prerequisites for full enjoyment of The Stupidist Angel, which is just about worth doing a little bit of background work to enjoy.) I liked A Dirty Job, which was almost as clever as Lamb and Fluke, but I didn't much care for You Suck. That may be because I'm so tired of vampire stories; everyone's trying to top The Vampire Lestat, and it not only can't be done, it's not worth doing.

Our former housemate Miriam, a former Missouri synod Lutheran and preacher's kid, sent us a hardback copy of Lamb when it first came out with this instruction written on the flyleaf: "If you observe Lent that is when I recommend you read this." We read it as soon as we got it, of course, and chortled happily all the way through at the way it's told:

Then he put his hand on my head and I suddenly felt better, stronger.
"Don't try your Son of God mumbo jumbo on me, you're still a wuss."
"If it be so, so be it. So it shall be written."
Well it is now, Josh. It's written now. (It's strange, the word "wuss" is the same in my ancient Aramaic tongue as it is in this language. Like the word waited for me these two thousand years so I could write it down here. Strange.)

Most of the novel is a description of how the Messiah (Joshua, or Josh) and his best friend Levi who was called Biff spent the thirty years between the nativity story and the telling of the parables. And as a bonus, at the end of the novel, you find out what the H. stands for in Jesus H. Christ.

The first half of Fluke seems like a fairly normal mystery story in which the characters try to find out why one of the whales they have been watching has "Bite Me" written on its tail. They start to find out on p. 119, part two of the novel, which begins a story so unlikely that I can't even outline it here for fear of spoiling your pleasure. Suffice it to say that Christopher Moore is no Jack McDevitt--if he outlines a plot that is too incredible to flesh out, he'll do it anyway. The results are hilarious and reveal the secrets of the universe.

That is, if you think the secrets of the universe can be revealed in a moment of revelation like in the movie Independence Day when the President says "there's no Area 51. There's no recovered spaceship." and the defense minister says "Uh...excuse me, Mr. President. That's not entirely accurate."


harriet said...

Thanks for the poem you posted. I'd never heard of it before and it was hilarious. Also,

Betty (Beth) said...

I was just browsing through some of your old blogs. Fluke is my favorite of Moore's books and I'm listening to it on audio on my commute right now. :-)

Have you read Fool? I've just started on it and I've got high hopes.

Jeanne said...

Betty, I've not read Fool, so I'll be anxious to hear what you think of it.