Monday, May 4, 2009

Coyote Blue

Old Man Coyote says, "When everything is right with you, but you are so afraid that something might go wrong that it ruins your balance, then you are Coyote Blue. At these times I will bring you back into balance."

Sam Hunter is a chameleon. He's an incredibly successful salesman, and he excels at being exactly what others want him to be. He has buried a secret in his past, buried it so deep he hardly even thinks about it, concentrating instead on being financially successful. Things seem to be going fine...until Coyote shows up.

Before Sam knows it, his life has been turned upside town. He's lost his home, his job, his security - and when he sees the golden-eyed Native American man dressed in black buckskins fringed with red feathers, he knows exactly who's responsible. It's Old Man Coyote, with eyes just like Sam's. But Sam can't dwell too much on his losses, because he's fallen head over heels in love with a lovely unusual woman, Calliope.

Sam's love for Calliope spurs Sam on in a new direction - away from meaningless safety and meaningless talk, and towards something real and meaningful. That road, however is anything but smooth. The many fearsome - and hilarious - obstacles include deranged bikers, fanatical garage sale customers, car chases, a seven-foot-tall Las Vegas security guard named Minty Fresh, an an encounter with the Jackal-headed death god himself.

I read this book in 1994, when it was first published, and I enjoyed it every bit as much this second time around - more, actually, because I'd completely forgotten that a beloved character from my favorite Christopher Moore novel, A Dirty Job, was introduced in this one! What a treat. Old Man Coyote is such fun to spend time with - particularly when he gets to Las Vegas. He is an imperfect god, and as in all the tales, he tries to out-clever everyone, fumbles and bumbles, but somehow manages to come out on top.

This book reminded me in theme and tone of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, and I encourage anyone who has enjoyed that one to give this book a try. It is funny and touching, thought provoking, endearing, and - as with all of Moore's books - it kept me grinning and giggling the whole way through.

Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore (Simon and Schuster, 1994)

Also reviewed at:

Unbound! : "There is the usual silliness and some genuinely touching moments among the chaos and a moment of tranquility provided by a very zen mechanic."

16 comments:

  1. I love Christopher Moore!!

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  2. I love Christopher Moore!!

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  3. Why did that post twice? I only clicked once... sorry!

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  4. I'm also a huge Christopher Moore fan! I've read a couple of his books, so far my favourite has to be You Suck. I've got this one on my Sony Reader and I'm currently reading Fool. Great post, now I'm looking forward to reading this one.
    I mentioned You Suck because it's the sequel to A Dirty Job, if you have read it yet you should.

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  5. Cat - Hey, the more comments, the merrier! I love Christopher Moore, too, and there are a couple of his books I have yet to read, so I'm looking forward to that!

    That's the book - A Dirty Job is my very favorite, but I have enjoyed all the ones I've read so far. I still need to read Fluke and Lamb, but I also want to reread Practical Demonkeeping, too. We're lucky he's written so many! I hope you're enjoying Fool - I thought it was loads of fun.

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  6. I've been meaning to try Moore for some time, and you totally sold me with the comparison to Anansi Boys!

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  7. oooh! Thanks for the review! This is the first time I've seen this reviewed on a blog and I wondered about it. I had planned on reading it next after You Suck when I get a chance to start going to the library again.

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  8. Nymeth - It doesn't have the complexity of Anansi Boys, but the trickster-ruining-someone's-life-to-make-it-better theme is the same. I'd be curious to hear what you think!

    Nicola - Make sure you read Bloodsucking Fiends before you read You Suck, because it's a direct sequel. I'll be looking forward to your thoughts on this one when you get to it.

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  9. I really need to read some Christopher Moore. So slack of me that I haven't yet!

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  10. i loved Lamb, so far the only Moore book i've read. however, i'm reading Practical Demonkeeping right now and really enjoying. though, i'm kind of confused as to the rules of the demonkeeping and casting. i've downloaded samples of the stupidest angel and Fool on my Kindle. Stupidest Angel didn't quite grab me and Fool ... i think i need to revisit Lear. i'm familiar with Lear, but i've only ever seen a 1-woman adaptation, never the proper play. guess i should re-read your review.
    but now, i'll bump Coyote Blue to the top.
    (ps. i have a copy of Lamb if you wanna borrow it.)

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  11. Molly - My mind is still trying to get around the 1-woman adaptation of Lear! Wow. If you watch one of the film versions and then read the book, you will have a great time. Thanks for the book offer - maybe next time I see you!

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  12. Kailana - I think it's an either love or hate thing, based on reviews I've read. His humor really tickles me, and I love his characters. I do hope you'll give him a try some time!

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  13. Moore is so awesome! This was the first one I read and I barely remember it, which is a good, cause I've read all the others and this will be a great re-read :P

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  14. I loved my reread - I'll be looking forward to hearing about yours. Coyote is so much fun! Particularly at the casino. :-)

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  15. Will definitely look out for this thanks. Again it seems like just my kind of read :) I am really looking forward to reading Lamb soon.

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  16. Rhinoa - I'm looking forward to Lamb, too. I've heard such good things about it!

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