“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Friday, May 16, 2008
The Embiggened O # 2,014: Always Judge A Book By Its Cover Homage
A Minister for Propaganda Elf writes: “Things have been going rather swimmingly for our humble offering THE BIG O of late, people. The good folk at Harcourt recently sent through the art-work for the cover of the forthcoming US edition, with which the Grand Viz was well pleased, mainly because it suggested that the designer boffin responsible had paid close attention to the text, to the point where the ever-radiant Maxine Clarke was moved to suggest that the cover itself might represent something of a plot spoiler. That was swiftly followed by the news that THE BIG O has been short-listed for the Bristol Crime Fest ‘Last Laugh’ award, a huge boost to the GV’s scheme for world domination, not least because the vagaries of alphabeticisation mean that the moniker ‘Burke, Declan’ heads the short-list (literally, if not actually). Hot on the heels of that little nugget of joy came the news that the Book Witch had a quick gander at THE BIG O’s sequel, currently labouring under the unlikely title of THE BLUE ORANGE, and professed herself hugely impressed with GV’s ability to apply the spell-check function. Three cheers, two stools and a resounding huzzah, said we, as we limbered up to breast-stroke through the vat of our Patented Elf-Wonking Juice™. But lo! There’s more! For yea, it came to pass that the eagle-eyed John McFetridge dropped us a line to point up the similarities between our cover and that of an edition of KILLSHOT by some American tyro called Ellroy Leonard, or Elmore Lennox, or summat akin. Well, you could’ve knocked us down with a feather made of microscopic sledgehammers. Still, they do say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, do they not? And, given that THE BIG O is a fourth-rate rip-off of Mr Lennox / Leonard’s style, it makes perfect sense that the Harcourt designer boffins should produce a first-rate homage to one of Mr Lennox / Leonard’s covers. Right, that’s us off for a couple of lengths in the vat of Patented Elf-Wonking Juice™. Be beautiful, people. Peace, out.”