A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

An amazing achievement. Moore’s novel deals head-on with the tragedy and emotional wreckage of losing someone you love, but doesn’t pull its comedic punches either. You end up with a book that’s perfectly willing to poke fun of the lead character one minute, then show the empathy resulting from his experience of tragedy the next.

Oh, and did I mention Moore does it while keeping the writing so smooth its frictionless, juggling multiple points of view, and occasionally just stopping the action to give background on the psychology of the main character?

Forget amazing. It’s intimidating.

Three things I gleaned from this one:

  • You can get away with dropping a lot of background info on the reader if it’s: a) humorous and entertaining, b) about one of the main characters, c) dropped in after the reader’s already emotionally invested in that character
  • Placing a tragedy at the heart of a comedy gives it an emotional weight that strengthens both
  • You can setup multiple POV later in a novel by swapping out from the main character for short bursts in the beginning, then gradually lengthening the time away from the main POV character as you go. By the time you get to the longer passages later in the book, your readers won’t have any problems switching and keeping track of them all.