Thursday, September 29, 2016

‘Undermajordomo Minor’ by Patrick deWitt

29 September 2016

Patrick deWitt’s novel ‘The Sisters Brothers’ (reviewed here in October 2015) is a quirky Western that draws on a wide range of influences. I have just finished reading his latest book ‘Undermajordomo Minor’, a strange fairytale set in a medieval middle-European country which also seems to combine a rich variety of literary sources. This is a novel which feels allegorical with its many unnamed characters (The Baron and The Baroness, The Count and the The Countess etc) and relishes its folk tale clichés. It’s a very dark fairytale with plenty of sex and violence but with an old fashioned politeness of language. The Ruritanian setting reminded me of Wes Anderson’s film ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, itself inspired by the short stories of Stefan Zweig. ‘Undermajordomo Minor’ is a distinctly odd but incredibly engaging and funny book. I found it hard to work out what it is really about but very much enjoyed reading it.



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