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Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt
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Undermajordomo Minor

by Patrick deWitt

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5073129,889 (3.66)48

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Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Not a home run like The Sisters Brothers for me, but a fast and entertaining read - a fractured fairy tale with a Little Tramp kind of 'hero' (except that he talks). The title of the book is also the title of the main character - Lucien Minor is the assistant to the majordomo of the castle. That's the kind of quiet wit you can expect from this book. This author has a way with titles - it feels like he comes up with a great title and then writes a book that lives up to it. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
This is a strange one for me. I loved [b:The Sisters Brothers|9850443|The Sisters Brothers|Patrick deWitt|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1291999900s/9850443.jpg|14741473] so much that I ran out to buy this one without any idea of what it was about. I won't summarize, however the reader should approach this novel as a "Fairy Tale" of the Grimm type and admire the clever writing, all the while taking the storyline with a grain of salt.

There is brilliant dialogue that can also be infuriating, no true sense of time period or place, an ominous setting that feels bizarre rather than ominous, vague character descriptions, perhaps a war and a puppy - for whom I felt the most! Ifeel like I will be thinking about this book for a while, it takes some time to absorb and process what I have read! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Enjoyable coming of age parable in a Gothic setting. Lucy was likeable character. The ballroom scene jarred, as it came from nowhere and left me having bizarre dreams, unwantedly. ( )
  celerydog | Jul 26, 2018 |
What a weird and bizarre book. It is a roller coaster ride! I enjoyed it for what it is. I'm okay with not having all the answers at the end. It's probably better that way. I do wonder what inspired the author to write this book. I'll need to do some searching on that. ( )
  BefuddledPanda | Dec 4, 2017 |
Totally unlike The Sisters Brothers, though the quirkiness is still there. Some great thoughts on identity and taking responsibility for one's own life (most of the characters just stay in their life regardless of how bored they are, but the protagonist has an instinct for survival and "progress"), and of course what it means to love. There's an element of magical realism and the tone of the book is akin to a fairytale -- Grimm's style. The writing style is amazing -- concise, terse, and captivating. I love it! There's one scene that comes out of left field and is so off-the-wall strange but told with such matter-of-factness that I wasn't sure I was reading it right, but I was. Where did it come from? Totally bizarre, but makes the book that much more memorable. don't read this one if you love The Sisters Brothers; read it if you like deWitt's writing style and quirkiness and want good literature. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Dec 3, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
DeWitt’s narrative doesn’t quite have that nimbleness. About two-thirds of the way in, the reader’s alarm bells should go off. Closing a book, the baroness says to Lucy, “I for one find it an annoyance when a story doesn’t do what it’s meant to do. . . . Would you not find yourself resentful at the promise of an entertainment unfulfilled?”Is this the author coaching us as to what’s not coming? Maybe. By the end, there is death and rebirth, more death and the opening of a quest, but also a striking lack of consequence. I think the events do indeed shape Lucy, but his emotional core becomes too inaccessible to judge. More than one important thread vanishes without a gesture toward resolution. The story ends with a beautiful epitaph seemingly meant to bookend the Walser epigraph, but that doesn’t quite fulfill the story we’ve just read.That said, the world deWitt gives us is generous, and the protagonist is someone we’re happy to follow. The novel proposes somewhat gently that the pursuit of a painful thing might just be the point, rather than the moment the quest is over — and deWitt illustrates that sweetly. The trip then might be enough for us: funny, sad, violent and illuminated by a minor light.
 
From its pitch-perfect opening onwards, it's clear from the unusual atmosphere and droll narration that deWitt has created a unique fictional universe....This novel is funny but it won't necessarily make you laugh out loud. Instead, suppressed mirth ripples through deWitt's prose....he challenge for the reader is to resist the temptation to devour a novel which should be savoured.
 
The Canadian writer Patrick deWitt has nerve. In the much-loved Booker-shortlisted The Sisters Brothers, he memorably reinvented the western in a poignant comic drama of greed, grit and ruthlessness starring a pair of contract killers. In Undermajordomo Minor, his rickety, occasionally shambolic but engaging new flight of fancy, he riffs on the folk tale, transporting the reader into a gothic Europe which, like its California-set predecessor, is not only free of morals and moralising but positively allergic to the very thought of them. DeWitt’s characters are never either truly good or fully bad. Instead, and more interestingly, they are specimens of flawed but game humanity, baffled souls struggling in a Petri dish, oddly touching to watch.....if Undermajordomo Minor occasionally lacks the heft and panache of The Sisters Brothers, it only proves the rule that great acts are murderously hard to follow.
 
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Epigraph
“It is a very painful thing, having to part company with what torments you. And how mute the world is!”
 
ROBERT WALSER
Dedication
For Gustavo
First words
Lucien Minor's mother had not wept, had not come close to weeping at their parting.
Quotations
What a violent thing love is.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Book description
From the backcover of the book : From the bestselling, Man Booker–short-listed author of The Sisters Brothers comes a brilliant and boisterous novel that reimagines the folk tale

A love story, an adventure story, a fable without a moral, and an ink-black comedy of manners, Undermajordomo Minor is Patrick deWitt's long-awaited follow-up to the internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel The Sisters Brothers.

Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the bucolic hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, Lucy is a compulsive liar, a sickly weakling in a town famous for producing brutish giants. Then Lucy accepts employment assisting the Majordomo of the remote, foreboding Castle Von Aux.

While tending to his new post as Undermajordomo, Lucy soon discovers the place harbors many dark secrets, not least of which being the whereabouts of the castle's master, Baron Von Aux. He also encounters the colorful people of the local village—thieves, madmen, aristocrats, and Klara, a delicate beauty for whose love he must compete with the exceptionally handsome soldier Adolphus. Thus begins a tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery, and cold-blooded murder in which every aspect of humanity is laid bare for our hero to observe.

Undermajordomo Minor is an adventure, a mystery, and a searing portrayal of rural Alpine bad behavior, but above all it is a love story—and Lucy must be careful, for love is a violent thing.
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"Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the bucolic hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, Lucy is a compulsive liar, a sickly weakling in a town famous for producing brutish giants. Then Lucy accepts employment assisting the Majordomo of the remote, foreboding Castle Von Aux. While tending to his new post as Undermajordomo, Lucy soon discovers the place harbors many dark secrets, not least of which is the whereabouts of the castle's master, Baron Von Aux. He also encounters the colorful people of the local village--thieves, madmen, aristocrats, and Klara, a delicate beauty whose love he must compete for with the exceptionally handsome soldier, Adolphus. Thus begins a tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery, and cold-blooded murder in which every aspect of human behavior is laid bare for our hero to observe" --… (more)

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