THE U.S. REVIEW LIKES THE BOOK.
Fans of the twisted and quirky will embrace this compendium of tales that range from fan fiction to fractured fairy tales to alternate history, then emerge at the end with undampened enthusiasm for the brilliance that almost masquerades at times as kitsch. With an impressive collection of published novels, short stories, and essays to his credit, Australian humorist Burke has practiced his craft thoroughly before penning this award-winning volume. In addition to the fantasies, magical realism, and the downright weird noir, Burke also presents numerous parodies of popular literary and film characters as well as real-life celebrities. Even the story subtitles, much like the intertitles of silent movies, will leave readers in stitches.
This adult storybook (billed for children under thirty) is organized in four sections covering history, heroes, horror, and Hollywood. From the American West's excesses to the svelte glamour of James Bond, Burke deals with just about every North American and British commonwealth cultural icon imaginable, musing upon themes of bloodshed, chaos, criminal escapade, and human frailty. Even the Bible isn't immune to the author's rib-tickling predations. But the fun doesn't stop there. The author has also created many of his own indubitably memorable characters, some new and some introduced in previous work.
The prose is rapid-fire, and unlike some humorists and comics, Burke has an extensive, high-quality vocabulary that he's obviously not afraid to use. He shares the knack for nuance and timing that stand-up comedians employ and a dizzying way of plowing on through laugh after laugh. If a reader doesn't like how a newsworthy or literary event happened, then it's quite likely that Burke has penned a funnier and far more interesting alternative in this collection.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review