Book: The Ballad of a Slow Poisoner
Author: Andrew Goldfarb (Gah, I cannot find a site for him – if anyone knows his blog or site [no Facebook, please] let me know and I’ll link it asap!)
Type of Book: Bizarro, novella, fiction
Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Well, a monkey, something called a Slub Glub and a guy named Millford travel the world, to the sun and back and solve a mystery in a hot air balloon. And they break into song periodically.
Availability: Published by Eraserhead Press (my god, I think I type the name of this publishing house more than I type my own name), you can get a copy here:
Comments: I’ve been reading a lot of bizarro and I realize that this is my third bizarro review in a row. I’m gonna mix it up, I promise. But until next time, I have to say that this was the sweetest, most charming, happiest book I have read in a long time. It was a fairy tale combined with a really positive acid hallucination combined with a hokey 1950s musical. I could not have loved this book more had it baked me brownies when I was finished reading it.
Each chapter was quite short, the storyline was amazing and loony and to give even the smallest plot encapsulation risks ruining the book, but I will try anyway: Millford Mutterworst suspects he is being poisoned and his ever increasingly flat elbows prove him right. A series of unlikely events lead him to take flight in an air balloon with a squid-like creature called the Slub Glub and a monkey. He travels to the sun, to South America, the Slub Glub almost gets eaten by an alligator, and the monkey via quick thought and action save their collective asses a couple of times. His alarmed fiancee, Edweena Toadsweater, takes off after him in a boat, where she saves a ventriloquist’s dummy from drowning, but not the ventriloquist, sad to say. There is a climax aboard a boat captained by Millford’s mother and it all works out in the end.
Oh yeah, they break into song periodically. It’s awesome, having a book serve as a musical, and as someone who hates musicals, this is no small statement from me. The songs are captivatingly silly.
Oh yeah part two, Millford is also married to the sea. Literally. His parents betrothed him to the large body of water when he was young. That’s why Edweena is merely his fiancee.
Oh, what a wonderful, absurd little book this was. This is a short review, possibly the shortest I will ever write, but as I said, there is no way to discuss it in depth without ruining it. I think if you are having a bad day and need some light, lovely, absurdism to cheer you up, this is the book to read. Eighty chapters, most a page long, ridiculous songs, amusing illustrations – you can read it in a sitting and then keep it on hand to lift your mood on that inevitable cloudy day when your boss yells at you, you get a flat tire, and you realize your tea tastes funny for a reason.