There’s no nonfiction book review this week, because I, like most other politically minded people, have spent my nonfiction time reading the redacted Mueller Report. For anyone wanting a review, I’ll say that the writing style used in the Report is impressive; the information is presented in a way that is accessible for the average person, with key terms being explained within the framework of the law and an eye toward a comprehensible timeline.
For the fiction book, it seems appropriate to review The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin (Gollancz, 2002).
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve recommended this book over the years. That’s not because of the humor of the book, which is absolutely present. It’s not because of the juxtaposition of a fairy-tale world and the tropes of some of the darkest of film noir, where nursery rhyme characters are vulgar and abusive and murder lurks around every corner. It’s because the book surprised me.
Jack (just Jack) travels to Toy City, after being warned of its dangers. Once there, he discovers just how hazardous the dark streets can be. After crossing paths with Eddie Bear, the pair form a partnership designed to find answers about missing and dead storybook characters.
For the first half of the book, it seems to be fluff. Entertaining, often surprising fluff, but ultimately what I’ve heard described as a “popcorn book.” The purpose is to amuse and provide some pleasant escapism. About halfway through, some of the casual statements and actions which were used as joke fodder reappear, with implications behind them. Shifting gears, the book moves into Philip K. Dick-style philosophy about the nature of reality and the validity of identity… while not skipping a beat in the main plotline about finding a mass murderer in Toy City, and continuing to deliver unexpected plot twists and revelations.
This style of story construction is somewhat common for Rankin, but I believe this is his best effort.