Thursday, January 01, 2009

Christopher Moore, Coyote Blue, 1994.

I found myself needing something that was simultaneously funny, light and profound. This desire, odd and paradoxical, is a hard one to fulfil--except, of course, until you start reading Christopher Moore’s books. (If you’ve never read Lamb, you should go find a copy now: it is beyond incredibly brilliant.)

Coyote Blue is a romp through native American mythology, a playing-story with Coyote that’s delightful and very funny. It’s not as nuanced, as slyly playful as are Tom King’s novels (especially Green Grass, Running Water) but its sheer exuberance is undeniable. (For a brilliant academic treatment of the Trickster, read one of my favourite books: Trickster Makes the World by Lewis Hyde.)

The story revolves around Samson Hunts Alone, who is forced to leave his reservation when still a young man. After a series of jobs, he’s secured for himself a seemingly great existence as an insurance salesman. Yet the intervention of Coyote brings both love and chaos into his orderly, predictable existence… and things go crazy from there.

It was exactly the sort of book I was looking for: it is the right mix of crazy, zany, and at the same time deeply thoughtful about what it means to live well.

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