Friday, September 30, 2011

book review: Busy Monsters by William Giraldi

Man falls in love with woman. She falls in love with idea of finding giant squid. She leaves and he goes crazy aided by a friend who has access to guns. Coping with jealousy and love has rarely been dealt with in such an entertaining way.

Because the main character Charles is a memoirist for a magazine the chapters are self-contained entries into his column and nothing is sacred. Even those that speficially ask him not to write about their lives are ignored.

As a result by the time he reaches the climax of his search for the love of his life Gillian everybody knows his motivation and his odd experiences on the way.

And odd they are ranging from setting off to kill his girlfriend's former possessive boyfriend only to find suicide has saved him the effort or the hair-brained idea to head into the woods to find a big foot to compete with the world wide fame that his girlfriend has received for tracking down the giant squid.

Needless to say add automatic weapons to the mix and there is a three month spell in jail in between some of these adventures. It's all fairly enjoyable.

The main character expresses himself sometimes in a Russell Brand sort of way with language set up as a hurdle for both other characters and occasionally the flow of the action. But that is a minor gripe.

In a world where the worst monster is man and the moods we all wrestle with can dominate our behaviour its a clever idea to project onto that the idea of seeking real monsters whether they be giant squids, big foots or for one character the legend of the Loch Ness monster. There is even a chance to get in some UFOs and alien abduction moments. These slimy, hairy and large monsters vie for attention along with the all too real ones of jealousy, lust and anger.

What keeps you going, just like those reading the memoir column and hoping for a happy ending, is not just the love story but the humour that runs through the narrative like Blackpool in a stick of rock.

Scenes that stick in the mind include a big foot hunter running screaming into the woods, a futile attempt to sink a boat with a rifle and the run in with a bitter lustful UFO hunter.

The story of boy meets girl then fights to defend his love might be as old as the hills but its delivered in a way that feels original and contains great comedy along with room for you to ponder just what your own monsters might be.


@parridhlantern said...

A story with monsters, some of who are human, aliens, bigfoot & a giant squid. What's not to like this has it all & a cartload more besides, This sounds like a very funny book.

Kinna said...

This book sounds delightful. I was laughing as I read your review. Thanks.