Challenge item #24: A book you loved–read it again!
Don’t have to tell me twice. I picked A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore.
Not only is this my second-favorite Christopher Moore novel (the first favorite being The Stupidest Angel, which I’ve talked about on the blog several times), but the sequel, Secondhand Souls, is due out in August! So I thought I’d get caught up on the story and characters.
After the death of his wife, Rachel, second-hand shop owner Charlie Asher realizes that he can see people’s souls in objects. He’s a Death Merchant–a person charged with collecting the souls of the recently deceased, and then making sure that they find their next karmic stop. Then the really weird stuff starts happening: giant ravens, voices from the sewer, and giant hounds, and a little daughter who seems to have odd powers. From there it’s a race to save the souls of San Francisco, the other death merchants, and maybe the world from a dark uprising from the Underworld.
This is the fourth time I’ve read this book. I found that I enjoyed it differently this time around. It took me longer to get into the story, but once I was in I was struck more than usual by the depth of heart and intelligence that lies behind the bawdy goofiness of Moore’s work. I think that’s why I enjoy him so much. I love the goofiness, and I love the humanity that lies underneath it. I took more time with the climax and ending of the story this time around, and found myself touched.
In this book in particular there’s a lot of poignant musing about death, life, grief, and loss. All with the counterpoint of sex jokes and slapstick and car chases. The dynamic is almost Shakespearean. General lunacy and very black humor abound, alongside fantastic descriptions of San Francisco and references to dozens of depictions of death and dying from all over the world.
I’m glad I picked this up again, and can’t wait for the next installment. You can visit Christopher Moore’s website, here, and take a look around to see whether you might enjoy his work.