Friday, September 10, 2010

Nick Cave

The Death of Bunny Munro          Funny, Horrifying & moving, & wrapped up in rich & restless prose

 Bunny Munro is a drug addled, sex obsessed alcoholic, who cavorts in a hotel room (about half an hour from his home), with a prostitute, whilst his wife terrified, depressed & tearful  begs him over the phone to come home. Which he manages to do about a day later, after trying it on with a waitress & then relieving himself  in his parked car whilst daydreaming about Kylie Minogue. On arriving home, he finds the interior dark & his clothes torn & strewn everywhere, he also finds that his wife has hung herself,  wearing the nightgown she wore on their wedding night.

" Libby Munro, in her orange nightdress, hangs from the security grille. Her feet rest on the floor and her knees are buckled...... Her face is the purple colour of an aubergine or something and Bunny thinks, for an instant, as he squeezes shut his eyes to expunge the thought, that her tits look good."

The Los Angeles Times said "There has got to be something seriously wrong with you for liking this character as much as you're going to". Because people are attracted into Bunny's world  the same way asteroids are attracted by the earth's orbit & quite often with the same devastating effect. But Libby Munro's death has left Bunny with sole responsibility for their 9 year old son, Bunny junior & this is also a tale of redemption.

Bunny senior & son embark on a bizarre & increasingly out of control road trip around Brighton (S.E. England). With Bunny's sordid behaviour becoming more addled & if possible more sordid, Bunny junior tags along slowly going blind (he has ever-worsening eye complaint & has run out of eye drops).

Bunny junior loves his dad, thinks he is the cleverest, bravest superhero of a dad & bunny junior loves his mother, still talks to her even though she's dead, still sees her, still carries the encyclopaedia she gave him & which he constantly refers to, seeking out the wonder in the world.

Whilst on their increasingly deranged road trip, a storm starts to rage over Brighton.  And there’s a psychopath, dubbed the Horned Killer by the press, who paints his body red and murders women with a pitchfork. He’s also heading south to Brighton.

 A tale of Lust, Love & Redemption


Bunny Munro's journey is an attempt to escape his feelings. His objectification of women to a vagina is the way he keeps bound tight his emotions, but with the death of his wife, they rapidly unravel, sending him spiralling through a series of acts becoming more insane & harmful to himself & those about him, climaxing with an apocalyptic scene involving a cement mixer & the Empress Ballroom, Butlins holiday camp (Bognor Regis).

But as I said before, this is a tale of redemption & can be summed up in the words of an old lady Bunny meets & dismisses "Auden said it all,"We must love one another or die" .

Most people will know Nick Cave, as  the lead singer with the Bad Seeds & Grinderman (both internationally acclaimed bands), those with a longer memory will know of an earlier band The Birthday Party.They may even know he writes soundtracks for movies & the occasional screenplay,  but this is not his first novel,  in 1989 "The Ass saw the Angel" was published, this was set in "The Deep South" & was full of brimstone & biblical fire. Being a fan of Nick Cave, I read it & wanted to love it, and although I could understand where he was coming from, and I understood its relationship to William Faulkner & Cormac McCarthy, yet I didn't love it. This I do. The Death of Bunny Munro is a morality tale, that's so bursting with vitality it jumps off the page & nuts you with the urgency of its message, this is a black comedy, so dark it needs a lighthouse to shine out its intent

                          "We must love one another, or die".



The novel was also released as an audio book, using a 3D audio effect produced and sound directed by British artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, with a soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis and in a number of E-book formats including an Enhanced Editions I Phone application that synchronises the audio book with the text, and includes exclusive videos of Nick reading.


 Nick Cave (wikipedia)

The Death of Bunny Munro (Cannongate Publishers)


 For those few, who don't know his music

Where the wild roses grow

The lyre of Orpheus

God is in the house

Midnight man

Warning this is a Bunny .M. track (no pussy blues)


Anonymous said...

I was asking myself, "is this THE Nick Cave"?

@parridhlantern said...

Check the tracks out. On some press reviews this book was described as more Nick Caves Grinderman Project & his last book "The ass saw the angel was more Bad seeds with its mixture of the profound & profane.
Fav track of the ones I've chosen is God is in the House "paint all our kittens white" the reasoning just makes me chortle.

Anonymous said...

I ve still to read this ,love nick cave thought and the ass saw the angel was a southern gothic masterpiece and if it hadn't been written by nick cave would be held up as a wonderful piece of work ,I really must bumpthis up the tbr pile ,all the best stu

@parridhlantern said...

I preferred this to his first book. This burns your eyes with his prose & in its way its more apocalyptic than the ass saw the angel, especially towards the end.

NancyO said...

Thanks for the post! I have this one sitting here somewhere waiting to be read. Nick Cave has been recommended to me by several people.

Anonymous said...

Ooh thanks for recommending me this book. It sounds quite interesting, but very, very dark. Maybe I will read it in the future, once I get past my 100 books.

@parridhlantern said...

Nancyo dig it out & give a go, if it's on your TBR, using a music analogy put it to the top of your chart & thefriande, make it 101, it maybe dark but it still shines out a light.

Gnoe (@Graasland) said...

I've been going back and forth trying to decide whether I should buy this book for Mr Gnoe. Almost did last week, just 2 days before Christmas, but put it back on the shelf again and left the book store empty handed.

I guess you're saying "go for it!"?

I must say Cave's soundtrack for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is one of the most beautiful things I know. Of course it helps that I absolutely LOVED the film. ;)

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Gnoe, I'm not just saying go for it, I'm saying GO FOR IT backed loudly by Nick Cave as Grinderman(lol).