A Dirty Job

Many, many thanks to tina_inara for checking this audiobook out and even delivering it to our door! amnachaidh and I both enjoyed it.

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. Read by Fisher Stevens Modern life and fantasy blend in this dark and funny novel. Charlie Asher was a stereotypical beta male, cautious, fearful, still having a hard time believing that his wife actually consented to marry him. When Rachel dies just after giving birth to baby Sophie, Charlie’s world is turned upside down. It’s not just losing Rachel and being a single dad, either. A man in mint green that only Charlie could see appeared at Rachel’s bedside when she died. Ever since, many of the objects Charlie’s second-hand store are glowing a dull red, and again, only Charlie can see it. The man in mint green turns out to be Minty Fresh, owner of a second-hand music store and self-described Death Merchant. It is his job – and now also Charlie’s – to collect the souls of the dead, which transfer to material objects when they die, and hold on to them until they are found by the next person they need to go to. Unretrieved soul vessels are snatched by sewer harpies (whom we know to be the Morrigan) to bring the harpies closer to taking over the earth. The ideas are consciously uncomfortable, as characters discuss the great irony in the Eastern idea of reincarnation being so closely tied to Western materialism: how would you feel about your soul ending up in your favorite sneakers? What about all the people wandering around soulless until they find their soul? The story is set firmly in modern San Francisco, with kooky and lovable characters, including Charlie’s lesbian sister, the foul-mouthed and soft-hearted goth girl who works at Charlie’s secondhand store, the immigrant old ladies in the apartment building who watch Sophie while Charlie works, and a pair of hellhounds that just show up one day. The biggest disappointment was that Sophie’s character never gets fleshed out, for all that she’s supposed to be the most important person in Charlie’s life. The answer to the book’s Big Question is really obvious, and I was frustrated with Charlie for not figuring it out. That’s not to say that the book was light on action, though. Fisher Stevens did an excellent job as the narrator, sounding the perfect beta male most of the time, but also adeptly creating unique and authentic-sounding voices for all the characters. The book is pretty heavy on the f-word and has some fairly graphic violence, so it’s probably not a good choice for a family listening. Still, this was a really fun book.

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
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1 Response to A Dirty Job

  1. Pingback: The Unfinished Series Syndrome | alibrarymama

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