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Book of Jokes (British Literature) Paperback – September 1, 2009
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Known primarily for his avant-garde music, Momus (aka Nick Currie) proves that he is no slouch as fiction writer either, easily translating his iconoclastic vision to prose. The novel is a phantasmagorical ride through dirty jokes that, in Momus's twisted alternate reality, dictate the lives of a very unfortunate family. It's all here: bestiality, incest, rape, murder and combinations thereof, as if related in the locker room of a junior high. There is no clear narrative structure; the action meanders through anecdotes told by the narrator—sometimes a young boy, and sometimes his hugely endowed father—who lives in a glass house and is sometimes imprisoned with a pair known only as the Murderer and the Molester. The humor is dark and absurd and genuinely funny (though not for everyone), and the style is reminiscent of Naked Lunch, with puns and coarse jokes instead of caterpillars and otherworldly creatures. This strong and short novel, despite its uncompromising structure and style, is delightfully crude and never ever dull. (Sept.)
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"He lists Rabelais and Martial among his songwriting influences (with a side of Matthew Barney and Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange"), and his music from Brecht to Beck on Moog and simulated harpsichord is suitably challenging . . . His songs, by the way, are quite dirty, as might be expected of someone who goes in for the Decameron too." --The New Yorker
"One of the UK's greatest and most underrated songwriters . . . ambivalent, challenging, confusing, disturbing." --Melody Maker
"Momus delights in wordplay like few others in contemporary pop, using wit as a formidable weapon against the tyranny of everyday banality." --Rolling Stone
Top customer reviews
The Murderer and the Child Molester, like a sinister Vladimir and Estragon, are waiting for the punchline, so Sebastian must keep dragging the jokes out like some old Shaggy Dog story.
Read this book for an unpleasant time.
"The Book of Jokes" is funny, filthy, and frequently offensive (it reminded me of Jonathan Barrow's The Queue) If readers find the first page too much, they probably shouldn't venture further. However, all the incest, bestiality, and rape, is a mirror of the jokes which rule Skeleton's world, jokes we have all heard (or told). So being confronted with such weird and offensive scenarios within a novel, makes one ponder just how surreal the worlds constructed to contain the punchlines of dirty jokes actually are.
"The Book of Jokes" is beautifully structured with moments of lovely strangeness; and its allusions and games left me thinking about it long after I'd finished.