To his son, waiting patiently in the car while he peddles beauty wares and quickies to lonely housewives in the south of England, Bunny is a hero, larger than life. But Bunny himself seems to have only a dim awareness of his son's existence, viewing his needs as a distraction from the relentless pursuit of sex, alcohol, and drugs.
When his bizarre road trip shades into a final reckoning, Bunny realizes that the revenants of his world - decrepit fathers, vengeful ghosts, jealous husbands, and horned psycho-killers - lurk in the shadows, waiting to exact their toll.
At turns dark and humane - and with all the mystery and enigma fans will recognize as Cave's singular vision - The Death of Bunny Munro questions the nature of sin and redemption, and lays bare the imprints that fathers leave on their sons.
Published by Macmillan Audio. This audio edition was first published in Great Britain by Canongate Books, Ltd
©2009 Nick Cave; (P)2009 Canongate Books, Ltd
With "The Death of Bunny Munro" lyrical genius Nick Cave introduces us to one of the most arguably despicable characters in literature. Bunny Munro (the second as we learn) is a master of the sales pitch and has 'a way' with the ladies... a way that brings with it a taste of bile when his inner monologue is revealed to the reader. Bunny operates on the road, leaving behind a wife whom he says he loves and a young son whom he takes for granted at best, at worst he ignores. With the suicide of his wife, Bunny has no choice but to saddle up with his son and get back out on the road, and we are witness to the downward spiral of grief-driven depravity that follows. In Bunny, Nick Cave is not so much trying to re-create Willy Loman as much as he is showing us a working man who has no aspirations beyond his own deviant appetites. He paints this man as a screaming caricature of vulgarity, perverse and misogynistic, specifically towards women, and you cannot help but hate him completely.
I have to admit that there was a certain satisfaction in knowing the title "The Death of Bunny Munro", being a woman, it was what kept me hanging on to see what happened. So why did I put up with this sexual deviant all the way to the end? It is the end that you find the true satisfaction, and it isn't at all what you expect. You forgive Bunny Munro. It is here that Nick Cave's genius truly shines, and that is with the transformation not of the character... but of the reader.
I will not say that you'll love this book. It is a novel that is not for everyone, particularly those that are easily disturbed by the grimy truths about human nature. I will say that it's a story that you'll not soon forget. With Nick Cave narrating his own work there is an uncomfortable intimacy shared. As you come to the end, you realize that its supposed to be uncomfortable, and you wouldn't get it any other way.
OK, I've been a Nick Cave fan for many, many years now. Too many to claim. I read his first novel, And The Ass Saw the Angel, when I was in my twenties. I fell in love with Eucrid Eucrows' manic cataloging of random objects, his utterly absurd "aloneness" in a ficticious landscape that was a cross between the swampy American South of the early 20th century and the brutality of settlement life in early Australia.
And then came "The Death of Bunny Monroe", which I have now read in my early fourties. I found this new novel to be a relentless, one note narrative. Considering the energetic complexity of it's author, I was shocked to find the title character, Bunny Monroe, to be so utterly lacking in depth. OK, we get it. Bunny's addiction to sex and self destruction is all consuming; at the peril of his wife, to the physical and psychological detriment of his son, and most certainly of his own soul. But this point is made glaringly evident within the first few chapters. From there, the story does not progress. This same dark chord is struck over and over in each successive chapter with the same effect on the reader. Bludgeoned, devastated, having lost all faith in humanity and the genetic bond between father and son, the chapters plod on and on. The reader is not expecting redemption at this point, just some other angle to the story, some irony, some progression, something. But it never comes.
The way The Death of Bunny Monroe wraps up is remeniscent of Patrick Suskind's "Perfume". In both novels, quite unredeemable characters get a very public, somewhat nonesensical comeuppance that could only exist in the rich fantasy life of it's characters. Bunny's is consistently flat and predictable, whereas Jean Baptiste's leads the reader to some kind of absurd epiphany about the power of the most underexplored of the human senses.
Hopefully, Cave's third novel will be the charm.
For weeks after I listened to this book it stayed with me, haunting me like a true work of art.
This book is a masterpiece.
Terrible narrator, but I have no suggestions as the story was terrible also.
I wish I had read the reviews before using one of my credits for this dreadful book. I got as far as about 1/3 of the way through before I could not stand it any longer. The reader speaks in a monotone and the overbearing music in the work is awful - as if it's some really, really awful radio show. I've never read Nick Cave before, but I'm certainly not planning on trying another title by him. I was disgusted with the characters, and the story seemed plodding and tedious. So sorry to have to write such a terrible review.
If I had any friends whom I thought would appreciate this story and Cave's unmistakable voice, I most definitely would. I would recommend this book because, apart from being a very good story, the linguistic efforts are fascinating.
His remarkable voice.
No. I found it too rich to take in all at once.
This may be a very good book for all I know (although I am doubtful). But this audio book is almost unlistenable. The narrator's monotonous presentation is bad enough, but the background music (apparently someone over-produced this audio book) is both irritating and too loud, it actually drowns out the reading. I forced myself to listen to a half hour of this terrible presentation before having mercy on myself. A wasted Audible credit as far as I'm concerned.
Although I found this novel very disturbing I could not stop listening until the very end. The writing was very good and I was sure that the main character would eventually redeem himself. I was wrong and therefore disappointed in the ending.
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