Tuesday, October 16

Bloodsucking Fiends - Christopher Moore

When San Franciscan Jody, a "self-conscious, one-step dancer with the rhythmic sense of an inbred Aryan" wakes up half-buried under a dumpster, one hand severely burned, she's understandably surprised. Almost as shocking is the discovery that she's been buried with a substantial amount of money. Less surprising is the fact that her boyfriend is more concerned about himself that her - although she hates to be alone, and has managed no fewer than ten live-in boyfriends by the age of twenty-six, she leaves. But she's already started to suspect that she's not entirely human any more, and will need someone who can move about during the day to help facilitate her life. Because Jody's somehow been turned into a vampire.
She picks C. Thomas Flood, a would-be writer in the Kerouac tradition from small town Indiana, who's working as a night manager at Safeway, and his life changes in ways he never expected. For Jody it's pretty much all about survival, but for Tommy it's everything he ever hoped to find in the big city. Well, except for the scary guys downstairs, the dead body in the freezer, the damn turtles, the murders, and the creepy guy who follows Jody around, leaving bodies wherever he goes. But other than that, perfect.
I first saw Moore's work in a UK bookshop a couple of weeks ago, and was surprised I hadn't come across him before. Bloodsucking Fiends is cult favourite Moore's third unique, stand alone novel that seem to blend fantasy and the paranormal with humanity and absurdism. There's also a fair helping of humour.
When Tommy has his card read the fortune teller tells him he's fucked. She offers to throw in a free palm reading, and remarks "Goodness, you masturbate a lot, don't you?" I enjoyed his descriptions of the olfactory blends in China town, of food and car fumes, like Kung Pao Saab Turbo, but my favourite exchange takes place between Tommy and the Emperor, a delusional homeless man who believes he's the Emperor of San Francisco, and is so treated by the locals:
"I've seen him," the Emperor whispered. "It's a vampire."
Tommy recoiled as if he'd been spit on. "A vampire florist?"
"Well, once you accept the vampire part, the florist part's a fairly easy leap, don't you think?"
I'm delighted to discover that my local library has three more Moore's, but as I think I could easily overdo it, a small break will be warranted first. - Alex

To see Lynn's reviews of Bloodsucking Fiends click here

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