Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Death as a Character

I just finished reading Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job, about a man who discovers he has a new job he describes as like being one of Santa's Helpers...  only it's not Santa he's helping out.

Very funny.  Lively writing.  There is a description I just love of a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham.  Here's a snippet (not the best part, the last sentence is the real kicker):  "...and a 325 horsepower V8 with such appallingly bad fuel efficiency that you could hear it trying to slurp liquefied dinosaurs out of the ground when it passed..."  The book has equally entertaining and outrageous monsters (especially the chicken-feet ones), but also many insights into dying and grieving.

Here's the art - by Monique Motil - that inspired the book's good-guy monsters:
"Sartorial Creature" image courtesy of artist Monique Motil's webpage

Death as a subject fascinates us. Death also makes a fascinating character himself (or herself, see Neil Gaiman's Sandman series).  In Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, Death is a recurring character, along with his sidekick Death of Rats, Death's Granddaughter, Susan, plus Death's faithful pale-horse, Binky.  The guy is one of my favorite characters.  He can show up in any Pratchett book (as death does), possibly carrying a folding chair and a book so as not to, you know, rush anybody.  You have to like the guy - he likes kittens.

Some Pratchett books where Death is the leading character and my latest recommended  read, by Moore :


  1. I *just* finished the book A Dirty Job like ten minutes ago. I too was struck by the same passage! And then I had to find Motil's work online and stumbled onto your blog here.

    Um..thank you, that is all.

  2. Glad you dropped by! Funny, isn't it, how one thing leads to another? If you like Moore, check out Terry Pratchett... Good Omens is a nice intro to both Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (who co-wrote it) - they share some sensibility with Moore I think.