The Jolly Coroner: A Picaresque Novel by Quentin Canterel
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Nope. Nope nope nope.
I have tried to work my way through 50 pages of The Jolly Coroner, struggling to find something appealing about the book. The protagonist, Billy Rubino, de facto coroner of the town of Hokum, is a supremely unlikable character (which I'm assuming is the point), and after only one chapter dealing with Rubino, I had an immediate dislike for him, but I kept thinking something would endear the book to me eventually. However, the second chapter jumps to a seemingly unrelated narrative about three high school kids who, trying to escape their horrid family lives, kidnap a teacher to drive them to Mexico, where they expect to live like royalty. To be honest, I thought maybe I had been confused about The Jolly Coroner, that it was in fact a collection of short fiction instead of one continuous story, but that's not the case. After reading some other reviews, it would seem the kidnapping does eventually tie into Rubino's story, but by this point, I don't care.
I know there will be an audience for this book, but I'm not part of it. I believe Canterel was trying too hard to prove how clever and gritty a writer he could be, only to the detriment of his story and characters. An unfortunate case of form over substance.
I received a free ebook from the publisher thru NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I think I'm going to shut From My Bookshelf down for a while; maybe for good. I've been putting this together for quite a few years now and it's starting to feel a bit more of a chore. I'll keep my Goodreads & Instagram connected, but with the state of the world right now, I just want to read without worrying about making sure I post something about it. Who knows - when the world starts to make some semblance of sense again, I may start actively posting here again. Until then, as always, happy reading!