Friday, May 21, 2010

Review by JD: The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave




Book Stats:

  • The Death of Bunny Munro
  • by Nick Cave
  • ISBN: 978-0-86547-910-4
  • Pages 278: hardback
  • Faber and Faber, 2009
  • Genre: General Fiction

(There are a variety of interesting covers for this book. One with a little boy holding an automatic. I liked this one - it does not correspond with the ISBN number.)

John’s Thoughts:    An odd book – and perhaps one mainly for Nick Cave aficionados. He has made some really cool music, and for anyone familiar with it or him, you certainly wouldn’t be expecting a straightforward “normal” story. And you’d be right.

This is the tale of a sex-addicted hedonist by the name of Bunny Munro, and what happens after his wife commits suicide. He has a unique view of life, and of course absolutely everything revolves around him and his personal desires. He fails to grasp that he is the prime cause of his wife’s demise, and is instead much more concerned about how her absence will affect his lifestyle. Or at least it starts out that way, but he begins to believe that she may be haunting him and starts to go a little crazy. Or crazier.

The main logistical challenge for Bunny is their young son, Bunny Junior. He is a very smart kid who loves his dad deeply despite everything that he has done and continues to do. Bunny’s short-term solution is to take Bunny Junior on the road with him on a sales trip – the sleazy Bunny being a moderately successful seller of cheapo beauty products thanks to his gift of being able to charm women. So begins a strange little odyssey involving sex, violence, copious quantities of alcohol, needy people and the spirit of Bunny’s wife. The book builds to a climax with Bunny’s behavior getting ever more outrageous, and the weight of his wrong-doings tipping the balance towards some fateful judgment day.

If that sounds like an interesting plot, well, it is. The problem for me is that Bunny is such a thoroughly awful, despicable person that it’s tough to actually enjoy the book. There are many nice touches, and a fair amount of humor; Bunny Junior is a great character that you root for; and Cave certainly has a great way with words. Try this for his description of a cheap and nasty hotel room:

“The room is a riot of psychedelic wallpaper and blood-coloured paisley carpet that appears to be designed around the ghosted, Technicolor nightmares of an Australian back-street abortionist. The scarlet curtains hang like strips of uncooked meat …..”

If you are a Nick Cave fan, you’ll probably love it. If you’re curious, give it a go – it is a short and “easy” read. For me, this gets 3 stars.

Author Mini Bio:

Nicholas Edward Cave is an Australian musician, songwriter, author, screenwriter, and occasional actor. He is best known for his work in the rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and his fascination with American music and its roots. He has a reputation, which he disowns, for singing dark, brooding songs which some listeners regard as depressing. His music is characterized by intensity, high energy and a wide variety of influences. He currently lives in Brighton Hove in England.


A Song to Share by Cave via YouTube:

Amazon purchasing links US/UK/Canada.

This book was rented from the local library. The review was written by John and posted by Shellie. As always John/JD will be addressing any comments made around this post.

Cheers everyone have a wonderful weekend! 


Anonymous said...

A good review as usual, JD, but I'm on the fence about this one. I loved the quote you quoted (?), but I have a tough time with unlikable protagonists. Or is Bunny Jr. the protagonist?

John D said...

Hi Charlie - thanks for stopping by and commenting. You had me reaching for my dictionary on this one. Can there be more than one protagonist? My trusty dictionary wasn't clear but I can read into it that maybe there should only be one. But I digress. Bunny Sr. is there on each and every page, so you really can't get away from him.

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