A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Before I heard Samuel L. Jackson read this post-modern self-help book in his deep, authoritative, GOD-like voice, I had: restless leg syndrome, sleep apnoea, delayed sleep phase syndrome, parasomnias, night terrors, nocturia, caffeine induced insomnia and somniphobia. After listening to this self-help book, I turned over, told my leg to "chill out motherf--ker" and went the f--k to sleep.
Cute, probably 3.5 stars, but not nearly as good as the hype. I liked both 'American Gods' and 'Neverwhere' a lot better. I guess that is the problem with joint projects, I'm not sure whether Pratchett or Gaiman should be praised or panned for this book. Yes, it was funny. Yes, it was irreverent too. It just wasn't great. Perhaps, its limitations were built into the core concept and blueprint of the book. Perhaps, it couldn't escape mediocrity because it was pulled in two different directions by two good authors and instead of ending in Heaven or Hell it just plopped right there in the middle.
Amis can write the darkest satire with a lyrical heart that beats with warm, soft blood. 'Lionel ASBO' is sad, funny, gratuitous, sick and full of life. It is like Dickens was written by William Burroughs.
Covered in grit, the characters in this Amis novel seem at first like bizarre 21st century, Cruikshank caricatures that just keep bouncing back and forth in my head between the real, the surreal and the unreal -- so I keep on doubting my own palsied view of the world.
Anywho, this novel seems like a better-adjusted, less disquieting version of Amis' magnum opus 'Money'. Lionel ASBO has more heart, and just slightly less art. Amis traded a little of the floating world . . . for the heavy. Just please Jēz...us don't buy it for Grans.
If you're looking for the comedy so readily had in Fool, Dirty Job, and all of the Pine Cove books it isnt here, this is more the kind of deeply drawn absurd comedy that you found in Fluke. This is the side of Chistopher Moore rarely glimpsed in his writing, the meloncholy sarcasm and broad comedy that is based not on the situation but on the very weirdness and craziness of a (semi)-normal life and love and the horror that is being a creative person.
So if you're looking for a delightful romp with another Pocket of Dog Snogging or another journey with Levi bar Alphaeus who is called Biff, or even a drag along the absurd with Theopolis Crowe, skip this one, you wont find the same humor.
If however you are looking for a very well thought out very well researched and deeply colourful book, then Christopher Moore is your colour man giving you the blue you need (whether you eat it or not) to make your day a little less blue and a little moore hued.