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Book Report: Captain Bluebear

Gentle Readers may recall how much Your Humble Blogger enjoyed The City of Dreaming Books and Rumo, and when last we spoke on the subject, I said I would undoubtedly purchase another book by Walter Moers, in part because I want to make sure they are available for purchase in English translation and in large part because my local library doesn’t have them. Sigh. Well, I did purchase 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear, and eventually read it, and enjoyed it, too.

Bluebear is his first book, or his first novel, anyway, and it seems to me to be not quite as succesful as the other two. There are bits that drag, and the sudden realization that the book is not just a picaresque sequence of one thing after another, but has a hidden structure where everything has been leading up to this— well, there was too much that didn’t really lead up to that, and more that didn’t lead up to it quickly enough. There was too much lingering, and not enough stuffing in of incident upon incident. Also, probably, too much Professor Abdullah Nightingale.

Still, lots of fun, lots of silliness, surprising amounts of seriousness underneath (quite a ways underneath, so that’s all right) and a very good book all around. Mr. Moers is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. Which makes me a trifle nervous, as there are only two more novels published in English. My plan is to wait for another few months before I read either of them; I don’t want to run out too quickly. I think my next dip into Zamonia will be rereading Rumo, as I would like to know if the books stand up to rereading.

I am curious, though: how many Gentle Readers have read one of the Zamonia books? How many have heard of them (other than on this Tohu Bohu)? I have the sense that they are pretty obscure, but then they are published by one of the Big Houses and are on the shelf at the local Big Bookstore. On the other hand, they aren’t at the library, and I don’t think I have ever come across them as I circle the fringes of the specfic community. No award nominations, no Walter Moers-wuz-robbed comments after the nominations were posted. Not sure what to make of it.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

One datum: my county library system holds three copies of Captain Bluebear (that's the only one of his books), of which one is on a holds shelf, one is checked out, and one is available. (None at my local branch, alas. ILL to the rescue. Plus maybe a purchase request.)


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