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Nick Cave Bunny MunroThe Death of Bunny Munro, by Nick Cave, is a book which I received as a proof copy for review, which saved me buying it (thanks!).
Nick Cave, of Bad Seeds (et al) fame, does not need introducing I hope. But, whilst  most people have heard (of) his music, significantly fewer know that he also writes fiction. This here is his second book, after And the Ass Saw the Angel, his magnificent first.

It deals, as the title aptly suggests, with the death of Bunny Munro. Bunny (his real name) is a door-to-door salesman ('by appointment only!', he emphasizes) of beauty products, for the wonderfully named 'Eternity Enterprises'. And, when we see him in action, we learn that he has the social engineering that goes with the job as well as the pseudo-scientific sales patter down, er, pat.
Bunny is also a sex addict. A compulsive seducer, who can pull most girls/women he's after, but who will harass all of them indiscriminately. But, despite (or because?) of his sexual prowess and success he is, at the end, a rather sad loser.

The story finds Bunny in a hotel room with a hooker. He gets a phone call from Libby, his wife, who asks him to come home, urgently. His reaction to this is, we learn later, typical. In his view she is 'off her meds', she 'has a medical condition' – a classification he seems to apply to everyone who does not behave the way he thinks they should, eg women who reject him or become hysterical.
Either way, he does not go home (they're both in the same town), as he's, as he puts it, 'busy'. In the morning he hits on the waitress, looks at girls on the way home (& masturbates his car). When he arrives home the place looks like a bomb hit it, his wife locked herself in the bedroom, and his son is even more confused and lost than usual. When they manage to open the door they find that Libby has hanged herself – something, it transpired, she has prepared over a long period of time.

After the funeral Bunny decides to go back on the road (he knows nothing else), and to take Bunny Junior with him. And we learn what a creepy, deeply unpleasant person Bunny is. But Libby is haunting his every step now, and things degenerate quickly towards his eventual death (I guess, given the title of the book, I'm not giving anything away here...).

The book has 3 separate parts – Cocksman, Salesman, and Dead Man. It is written in the 3rd person, and follows either Bunny, or Bunny Junior. The storytelling is very straightforward, simply reporting what is happening, without much analysis.
Overall this is not as deep or complex (or, for that matter, involved) as Cave's first book, And the Ass Saw the Angel; but if you like the stories in Cave's songs you will love the book.
You will also recognize the storytelling – Madness, Obsessions, Fornication (not as much as my description above suggests, btw), and the way from glowing 'winner' type to loser destined for the madhouse or the grave are classic Cave tropes, and put to good use here.

The story, the book overall, is sad. It leaves the future of Bunny Junior open, but somehow you know how it's going to pan out. Hope is a rare good in Nick Cave stories and songs, after all.
This is a recommended book for people not afraid of the slightly unusual, not just for fans of Nick Care. Well written, fascinating, and engaging. I hope he doesn't wait another 20 years to write the next book!

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Title: The Death of Bunny Munro
Author: Nick Cave
Reviewer: Markus
Reviewer URL: http://skating.thierstein.net
Publisher:  Cannon Gate
Publisher URL: http://www.meetatthegate.com
Publication Date: 2009
Review Date: 100117
ISBN: 9781847673770
Pages: 278
Format: Paperback
Topic: Fiction
Topic: Horror

 

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