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The Death of Bunny MunroReview - The Death of Bunny Munro
A Novel
by Nick Cave
Macmillan Audio, 2009
Review by Christian Perring
Apr 6th 2010 (Volume 14, Issue 14)

Nick Cave is best known as a musician, formerly leading the band The Birthday Party, and since then a series of albums with the Bad Seeds, and with a number of side projects.  His music has always been angry, passionate, and energetic, and the lyrics are often one of the best features of the songs.  His most recent album Dig Lazarus Dig!!! had some of his best lyrics ever, both clever and elusive.  So there's reason to be interested in his new novel, The Death of Bunny Munro, especially since the unabridged audiobook is performed by Cave himself with a soundtrack by Cave and his frequent collaborator Warren Ellis -- the music is similar to that of their work on sound tracks like The Road.

The novel follows Bunny Munro to his death over a few days.  Bunny is married, with a boy, 9-year-old Bunny, Jr.  His wife is utterly worn out by his terrible behavior, and near the start of the book she kills herself.  Bunny spends the rest of the book driving around with Bunny, Jr. on his job selling cosmetics to women.  He is obsessed with Avril Lavigne's vagina, and he is constantly trying to have sex with the women he meets.  He has some success, but he also gets beaten up.  But he also seems intent to destroy himself, and his drinking is gettimg him there.  We don't feel any pity for him though, because he is such a terrible person.  Getting through the book is a trial precisely because it is so relentless in its brutal depiction of Bunny's misogyny and obsession.  Yet it is impressive in the consistency of its tone and the very distinctive mood of sin and debauchery that Cave creates.  The relationship between Bunny and his son makes the story more appealing, because there's at least a hint of genuine affection between the two, and we see how the boy admires and also comes to distance himself from his father.  It makes Bunny a more complex character -- not necessarily less loathsome, but someone we can identify with.    

 

Link: Book website

 

 

© 2010 Christian Perring        

 

Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York

 


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