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A Dirty Job (2006)

by Christopher Moore

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Grim Reaper [Moore] (1), Death Merchant Chronicles (1)

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6,2372521,194 (4.02)116
Charlie Asher, a neurotic and anxious hypochondriac who hates change, confronts the challenges of being a widower and a single parent when his wife dies of a freak medical condition on the day his new daughter, Sophie, is born.

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» See also 116 mentions

English (242)  German (5)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  All languages (251)
Showing 1-5 of 242 (next | show all)
Charlie Asher becomes a merchant of death, his daugter is the Luminatus
  ritaer | Jul 22, 2021 |
4.25ish ( )
  MagpieBricolage | Jul 17, 2021 |
Another funny, heartwarming, and quirky metaphysical novel from Christopher Moore. Although I couldn't help drawing comparisons between this and Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys (both have as protagonists nerdy men named Charlie in mundane occupations with wives/girlfriends that are too good for them, supernatural powers that they're unaware of, and cool but bizarre colleagues and relatives), Moore's novel is more adult in both language and content. He is willing to address darker topics than Gaiman (or the darker side of similar topics), and as a result this novel has both a more provocative surface and more apparent sophistication, while Gaiman's is more along the lines of a modern fable. Still, I like them both, and another plus is that in this novel we get to find out more about what's happened to some incidental characters from previous novels! ( )
  Charon07 | Jul 16, 2021 |
Ooh, I hated this. Oh, you guys, I hated it. I hated the repetitive Beta Male bullshit, the cutesy attempts at edgy humor, and the shocking amount of aggressive hipster racism. And worst of all, a great idea was completely squandered with a meandering plot and samey dialogue. I'm stunned at how much I hated this since I really liked the last Moore book I read (Lamb). Honestly this has made me leery to try another one. Bad, bad, bad. ( )
  jobinsonlis | May 11, 2021 |
It’s been a long time since I read A Dirty Job, but damn it’s still a pretty funny book! There are definitely some problematic elements (what book doesn’t have them), but it’s impossible not to get caught up in the drama of the recently widowed, newly made Death Merchant Charlie Asher! What I like about the book most, besides its comedy and continual action, is how much it reframes the concept of death through its discussion. Moore deftly blends elements of funerary culture from various religions (Jewish, Celtic, Buddhist, to name a few that I actively recognize), holding absolutely none of them sacred in his interpretations, and gives us a perspective the reinforces the natural elements of the life cycle without focusing on the religious aspects of things too much. Asher does, after all, redistribute souls through what is essentially a junk shop, and this is 100% okay because it’s part of the greater cycle of life and death and everyone gets where they need to go in the end. Ultimately it’s a strange little novel when you dig into the thematic premises, but that’s part of what makes it so fun! ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher Mooreprimary authorall editionscalculated
Stevens, FisherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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What you seek, you shall never find.
For when the Gods made man,
They kept immortality for themselves.
Fill your belly.
Day and night make merry,
Let Days be full of joy,
Love the child that holds your hand.
Let your wife delight in your embrace,
For these alone are the concerns of man.
—The Epic of Gilgamesh
This book is dedicated to Patricia Moss, who was as generous in sharing her death as she was in sharing her life.


To hospice workers and volunteers all over the world.
First words
Charlie Asher walked the earth like an ant walks on the surface of water, as if the slightest misstep might send him plummeting through the surface to be sucked to the depths below.
Thing settled in the City of Two Bridges, and all the dark gods that had been rising to erupt out over the world remembered their place and returned to their domains deep in the Underworld. (Epilogue)
'I don't even want to make her eat her green beans for fear she'll KITTY me.'
'I'm sure you have some kind of immunity.'
'The Great Big Book says that we're not immune to death ourselves. I'd say the next time a kitten comes on the Discovery Channel my sister could be picking out caskets.'
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Charlie Asher, a neurotic and anxious hypochondriac who hates change, confronts the challenges of being a widower and a single parent when his wife dies of a freak medical condition on the day his new daughter, Sophie, is born.

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The story centers on Charlie Asher, a "beta-male" (as opposed to "alpha-male") who leads a satisfying life as the owner and proprietor of a second-hand store in San Francisco. At the moment when his wife Rachel unexpectedly dies in the hospital shortly after the birth of their first child (Sophie), Charlie becomes involved in a new sideline of retrieving the souls of the dying, so as to protect them from the forces of the underworld. He only gradually realizes the ramifications of this business as various clues and complications unfold. Ultimately Charlie resolves to confront directly the forces of darkness.
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