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A Dirty Job (2006)

A Dirty Job (2006)

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4.09 of 5 Votes: 4
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0060590270 (ISBN13: 9780060590277)
william morrow & company

About book A Dirty Job (2006)

This is a lot of silliness blended with charm and heart and it could just be what the doctor ordered. The medicine was strong for me. I can only take so much laughing in one sitting, and the drug starts to lose its power. The madcap plot takes you over the top into a land where a bumbling sweetheart Charlie Asher, a junk dealer, becomes some sort of assistant to Death. It takes him awhile to figure out his assignment as communications were bollixed. He’s the owner of Asher’s Secondhand Store in San Franciso’s Chinatown, and your heart is with him as he deals with his beloved wife’s death at the hospital and tends to the care of his infant daughter Sophie. He is such an obsessive worry-wart, touching in his last conversation with his wife, Rachel “Can I bring you anything from home?”“I’ll be fine. The ready kit you packed covered everything, I think. In fact, I may not even need the fire extinguisher”Two immigrant widows pitch in to help with raising Sophie, the Russian Mrs. Korchev and the Chinese Mrs. Ling. What they had in common, besides being widows and immigrants, was a deep love for little Sophie, a precarious grasp on the English language, and a passionate lack of confidence in Charlie Asher’s ability to raise his daughter alone.Mrs. Korchev as a “Russian soul, conditioned by a thousand years of angst, really wasn’t equipped for unbridled happiness”. Mrs. Ling is more jovial, a true believer in mystical signs, and gifted in cooking wholesome things they often couldn’t identify. Hopefully, she wasn’t using roadkill in her dishes. In serving up a strange vegetable that “tasted like a melon but looked more like a squash, with spikes”, Mrs. Ling had called it “shut-up-and-eat-it-good-for you”.That serves to give you the setting and the flavor of Moore’s divine knack for zany characterization and warmth in his humor. Soon the plot starts getting Gothic and Charlie has to take on the tasks of a superhero in fighting the forces of darkness. He is mystified when giant ravens keep trying to attack him and possibly Sophie, and he hears threatening voices coming out of the sewer grates in the street. And some of the items in is junkstore start glowing red in the dark. He then gets a strange call that leads him to the acquaintance of a very tall black man dressed in green whom he saw briefly at the hospital the night his wife died. The message he gets is that if he fails to do his job as Death’s assistant “Darkness will cover the world and Chaos will reign”. Mum’s the word on what his task is. In Charlie’s campaign, I can say that he gets some help from the natty black giant (a record store owner) and a colorful cast of other characters, including his lesbian sister (who keeps pestering him to ease his problems by getting laid), his teenaged Goth clerk at his store (who has intercepted his “assignment”), and an ex-policeman tenant (who suspects Charlie is a serial killer). But mostly Charlie struggles alone, trying to figure out the mystery of what he is up against. Charlie characterizes himself as a Beta male, the crafty type that lets the Alphas go out to attack a mastodon and that can “imagine in advance that attacking what was essentially an angry, woolly bulldozer with a pointy stick might be a losing proposition, so they hung back at camp to console the grieving widows”. But the threats get so much that he takes the courage to begin fighting back. One day he goes after the crones which he designates the “Sewer Harpies” with fireworks:“We’ll peck your eyes like ripe plums”, hissed a female voice out of the drain. “Bring us up, Meat. Bring us up so we can lap your blood from the gaping wound we tear in your chest.”“And crunch your bones in our jaws like candy,” added a different voice, also female.Charlie felt his entire body go to gooseflesh …He lit four more M-80s, these with longer fuses, and tossed them one by one into the drain.“Who’s New Meat now?” he said,“What? What did he say?”, said a sewer voice. “I can’t hear shit.”The fun and mayhem of this tale has some of the heart that lies behind of a Carl Hiassen romp, though without his political messages. We get some mythic farce along the lines of Gilliam’s movie “Life of Brian”, some of the flavor of a quirky fantasy by Pratchett or Gaiman, and a bit of the comic magical realism and romance of Tom Robbins. But Moore has his own special voice and methods, and this one is well worth checking out when you are in the right mood.

Christopher Moore wrote this book because there was a death in his family. And it’s funny! I am relieved that he does not seem interested to write a book about the Holocaust. Moore has a penchant to pick up a serious subject matter and make fun of it without dumbing down the importance of the said subject. Even here, although the first chapter starts with a birth and ends with a death, it is the funniest chapter in the book.Charlie Asher, the protagonist, is a normal guy, who plays it safe and does nothing flashy – in Moore’s words he is your typical beta male. He is a guy who as a single parent reads his kid daughter to sleep with Slaughterhouse Five and classified ads from the Chronicle (You just try that at home).There are some typical Moore moments in this book which are bound to make you guffaw.Charlie felt a lump rising in his throat. No one had ever called him Daddy before, not even a puppet. (He had once asked Rachel, “Who’s your daddy?” during sex, to which she had replied, “Saul Goldstein,” thus rendering him impotent for a week and raising all kinds of issues that he didn’t really like to think about.) But Charlie’s cocooned lifestyle is changed forever one day when he is selected to act as one of the soul collectors and distributors – a Death Merchant. Congratulations, you have been chosen to act as Death. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. It is your duty to retrieve soul vessels from the dead and dying and see them on to their next body. If you fail, Darkness will cover the world and Chaos will reign.There are some forces of the Underworld (a trio of Celtic War Goddesses) that are after the souls too. They reside in the sewers of San Francisco waiting for Charlie to fail to collect a soul in allotted time. There is a timeline to collect a soul, not ever more than 49 days (sometimes the time allotted is as small as 1 day). Name and the timeline for collection of the soul object of the deceased (or soon to be deceased) appear automatically on Charlie’s daily planner. There are many interesting (read weird) secondary characters in this book that would make sure that you don’t stop laughing. A Goth teenager.A sister who keeps stealing Charlie’s clothes.Two immigrant nannies – one Russian and other Chinese whom Moore intentionally depicts as over-the-top stereotypes.A retired cop who works for Charlie. They both think that the other is a serial killer.Two hellhounds who eat everything from soaps to steel.There is lot to love here but of course, there are some tiny drawbacks. The book seems 50 pages too long. It sure is funny, but not as good as Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, in my opinion. And while it may not affect most of us, this book may offend someone who is highly religious. Especially if you are a Muslim or a Christian. My advise – read this book for what it is – a work of fiction which is not meant to be taken seriously. But really, how can someone get offended by a book that is choke-full of jocularity like this?She was so understanding, forgiving—and kind, you could just tell that by her eyes. He knew in his heart that he would even sit through a hat movie for this woman. He would watch A Room with a View AND The English Patient, back-to-back, just to share a pizza with her. And she would stop him from eating his service revolver halfway through the second movie, because that’s just how she was: compassionate.

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Questo libro mi ha spiazzato. Primo perchè pensavo di ridere di più e anche se ho sogghignato spesso, non è stato tanto spesso quanto avrei voluto. E secondo perchè ci sono molte parti che denotano una profonda ricerca sulla morte, gli innumerevoli rimandi alla Kübler-Ross e al suo saggio La morte e il morire o al Bardo Thodol (il Libro dei Morti tibetano), hanno fatto sì che questo libro io lo abbia letto un pò come quelle frecciatine che ci si fanno tra amici, della serie "te lo dico con una risata, ma intanto te lo dico", e il messaggio che ho letto "tra le righe" è che tutti noi passiamo attraverso la vita con l'incredibile convizione di essere immortali, ma di fatto... non lo siamo. E di questo ce ne accorgiamo solo quando la morte ci sfiora o quando muore qualcuno che ci era molto vicino (cosa che mi sembra evidente sia successa a Moore). Tutta la storia è naturalmente condita con sarcasmo e ironia e quindi si legge scorrevolmente, però faccio un appunto al finale, che non mi ha soddisfatto e ad alcune scene un pò troppo "forzate" (un vascello di anime nelle tette al silicone ad esempio °-° o il popolo degli scoiattoli). In definitiva leggerò sicuramente qualcos'altro di Moore, perchè la sua scrittura visionaria mi è piaciuta :)

This was my first Christopher Moore book and it felt just like reading Neil Gaiman and/or Terry Pratchett. And how does that feel? Well, it takes a subject that is both fanciful and dark and makes you laugh out loud at the absurdities that are thrown in for fun. I don't mean to say that Mr. Moore doesn't have his own style, but it is very similar to Gaiman and Pratchett and flawlessly so.There are a great many things I liked about this book and every one of them would spoil the magic of the story if I told you about it. If you like Mythos (I'm not sure what else to call legends about gods) and dark humor don't pass this one up!http://northdnvrnonzombie.wordpress.c...

If you should ever wake up and find that you have become the main character in a Christopher Moore novel, do whatever it takes to get yourself out of there quickly. So far the protagonists of his stories have been beset by Zombie Santas, swallowed by whales, exiled to cannibal-infested islands in the tropics, and more recently, discovered they are Merchants of Death. So begins Christopher Moore's "A Dirty Job," where life is full of promise for Charlie Asher, a well meaning if overly concerned Average Guy. He owns a secondhand shop, is happily (though somewhat incredulously) married to a beautiful woman and is looking forward to the birth of his first child. Unfortunately for Charlie, Death has other plans.Within just a few chapters Charlie finds himself on his own, struggling with some of the toughest questions he will ever have to face. Can he go on without the love of his life? How will he raise his baby daughter alone? Just what DID they do with her tail? And who the heck was that huge guy in the green suit coming out of his wife's room?Most of the time, Charlie is too busy trying to keep up with the bizarre antics of his friends, relatives and employees to really dwell on his loss. But when objects in his secondhand store begin to glow and people around him mysteriously meet their demise, Charlie begins to wonder if he's going crazy with grief. The real explanation is much more sinister, however, and if Charlie doesn't figure it out soon, there will be Hell to pay. Literally."A Dirty Job" just may be Christopher Moore's best work to date. Though most of his books deal with loss in one way or another, this is the first time he has had a character that allowed him to explore in with such depth. The story manages to be both sentimental and surreal without going over the top in either direction, and even with the deep subject matter Moore's writing style makes the book a fast, fun read. His dialogue is always natural and well-paced, with just enough detail to give the reader a clear picture of the character while also allowing the imagination a little room to breathe.For longtime readers, new converts to Moore's work and anyone else who likes a different kind of fiction, "A Dirty Job" is a totally satisfying read that had me going between laughing out loud and smearing my mascara with every new chapter. This is one book that is truly worth the cover price.

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