Monday, 2 April 2012

Book Review--The Last Hiccup

Publisher: ECW Press
Release Date: April 1, 2012
ISBN 1550229737 (ISBN13: 9781550229738)
Source: Net Galley
Author: Christopher Meades

Set in 1930s Russia, this darkly humorous, tragic, and ultimately heroic novel tells the tale of Vladimir, an eight-year-old Russian boy suddenly stricken with a chronic case of the hiccups. He soon finds himself spirited away to a Moscow hospital by the famous physician Sergei Namestikov, who puts him through a series of extraordinary--and often bizarre--treatments in an effort to find a cure. When Sergei's chief medical rival, the brilliant Alexander Afiniganov, discovers that beneath Vladimir's blank eyes lurks a pure, unbridled evil, he takes steps to remove the child from polite society. Abandoned by everyone but his hiccups, Vladimir decides to return to the world he once knew, encountering many strange people and situations along the way. Funny, poignant, and surreal, this is a close look at the nature of good and evil filled with a dazzling cast of characters.

I went way out of my comfort zone when I snagged this book. WAY out. As you can see from the blurb, this is far from the usual novel I review.
To be honest, I only grabbed it because, aside from sounding intreguing, it's Canadian and, as a Canadian, I want to have at least a BIT of CanCon on my blog!

But, I really enjoyed this book!

Little Vladimir sucked me in at once, and the humour, while subtle at times, had me laughing out loud during some parts. Without being spoilery, I can say that the scene in the barn and the killer cat had me giggling with glee.

Christopher Meades's writing feels like an artform in itself, with the way it flows and paints beautiful pictures in your mind.
His characters are wonderfully endearing and this story almost has a folktale feel to it.

Of course, with the good must come the bad, and in The Last Hiccup, sadly, there IS some bad.
It's just not long enough. Mr. Meades skips full years that I would have LOVED to have read about.
I also found there was too much detail in the beginning about Valdimir's Doctors and not enough about Valdimir himself.

But the ending...Ah, the ending. That completely makes up for any faults or shortcomings this book may have.
It's beautiful and touching and almost serene. The perfect ending for such a wonderful novel.

If you enjoy dark-ish humour, Canadian literature or books that are just different, this is the book for you.

You can purchase The Last Hiccup here.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE that you are stepping outside your normal genre!! I do that often and try to encourage others to do the same!! I have not heard of this book before but it sounds really interesting. I love a book with an amazing ending because that always leaves you with a good feeling when you close the book!