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Shelf Monkey Paperback – April 1, 2007
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"You'll probably enjoy this one, as I did. . . . Redekop has managed a credible debut." The Toronto Star
"Invigorating." Literary Review of Canada
"This will be the start of a very promising career for Redekop." Skullring.org
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If there were half points, I would have given this a 4.5--points off only because I got pretty grossed out at the end. Otherwise, the writing is great, the humor is clever, and the story is completely engrossing. Can't to see what Redekop comes out with next.
What I especially enjoyed: The writing style in this book was flamboyant and fluid. The story was unexpected and unconventional. The actions of the characters made me pause and think about my own prejudices and how I react to things I absolutely can't stand in others' behaviour, which is what made me uncomfortable: this story's reach is deep.
A critical point: I thought Thomas could have gone farther down the path he ultimately, although ambivalently chose, and it would have made the ending more (hilariously) horrifying.
Overall: An excellent, well written book: the work of a master craftsman. Definitely recommended.
Except it was! It was a blast, a page-turner. Unputdownable! Riveting! Amusing! Arousing! Inspiring!
Will this charming little novel still be remembered 50 years from now? I doubt it, but in the meantime, do the book-lover in you a favor and take a chance on it. I for one am eagerly awaiting whatever comes next from Mr. Redekop.
Of course, in this case, the "terrorists" are a cadre of bibliophiles who are revolted by how the corporate mentality has infected the book trade like an insidious virus, contaminating the printed word with hype, money and the herd mentality. No sacred cows are left unskinned and Mr. Redekop has a terrific eye for snappy dialogue and witty turns of phrase. Fans of Chuck Palahniuk and Craig Clevenger will LOVE this guy. Much of Canadian fiction is a wasteland these days but every so often one encounters a book that gives you hope that this country is still capable of producing innovative, convention-busting artists. Corey Redekop...remember that name. He's going to be around, pricking sensibilities and tickling funny bones, for a long time to come.
It's a little like Catch-22, but instead of bombers and Italian prostitutes there are big box book stores and people eating pizza. The role of Yossarian is played by a confirmed and inveterate book nerd (named Thomas).
Thomas has recently quit his career as a lawyer, and decided to work at a book store, because he loves book. At least, he THOUGHT he loved books. Turns out, he only likes good books. And working at a big-box-book store, Thomas discovers that not everyone has the same (good) taste. Especially when the execrable predilections of the wildly popular Munroe Purvis encourage the great unwashed to buy books of dubious value.
Unlike Yossarian, Redekop's protagonist is actually able to accomplish something. Something weird, a bit dangerous, and even anarchic -- burning books. Not all books, just the overhyped, the unredeemably bad, the dreck of the literary world.
Part Chuck Palahniuk, part readers guide to great literature, Shelf Monkey is a must for anyone with pretensions to being a bibliophile. You'll love it. For those of you who are okay with not reading every great book in the history of literature, you may find the continual literary references a bit tiring, but there's still lots to love.
Redekop's book is witty, and dare I say, aflame with excellent satire. (Yes, I dare.)