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tagesmann

The Death of Bunny Munro - General Discussion

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I'm just over half-way through this. The story is split into three books; Cocksman, Salesman and Deadman. After reading Cocksman (which was very funny in places) my feeling is that Bunny Munro has not redeeming featurea at all. Half-way through Salesman and nothing has happended to make me change that opinion.

So far the book is a very easy to read book without being an easy read.

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Here's my review. I'm afraid it's too long to fit into one post, so I've stuck it in two consecutive posts:

 

Nick Cave was never going to settle for 'just' being a rock star. Right back from when I was first aware of him, in the early '80s, when he was screaming out discordant songs of violence and passion with The Birthday Party, he had an idiosyncratic aura of manic intensity about him. Plenty of people were enmeshed in the raw power of punk, but Cave had the look of a crazed Gothic preacher-man about him, all chiseled cheekbones, stringy, flailing limbs, glazed eyes and howling outrage. Around that time, or maybe when he had just disbanded The Birthday Party and was reborn in the alter ego of Nick Cave and The Wild Seeds, he shared a flat with my then NME colleague and Rocksbackpages founder Barney Hoskyns. I would sometimes see Barney in the NME office looking interestingly ravaged and sleep-deprived, and wonder wistfully why my NME experience couldn't be as exciting as his.

 

Since then, Cave has continued to create rousing, moving music, sometimes wild, sometimes tender, always with a streak of darkness about it. He continues to work with The Bad Seeds and founded Grinderman in 2006. His latest releases include the second album with Grinderman, a compilation of film scores that Cave wrote with bandmate Warren Ellis called White Lunar, and the first of a collection of digitally remastered Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds albums.

 

Cave has also done a bit of acting here and there, sometimes combining the acting with his music, sometimes singing other people's songs (as in the 2005 homage to Leonard Cohen), and sometimes providing soundtracks to other people's movies (eg Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire in 1987).

 

Cave's first novel, And The Ass Saw The Devil, was published twenty years ago. This was by no means his first publication - he'd previously published King Ink in 1988, a book of lyrics and other work including a collaboration with one-time US queen of underground new wave Lydia Lunch. In 1997 he published King Ink ll, which consisted of more lyrics, poems and a transcript of an essay, The Flesh Made Word, discussing his Christianity. Cave was brought up an Anglican, and penned the foreword for Canongate's Gospel According to Mark in 1998. So the persona of a drink-drenched hellfire and brimstone preacher is not altogether a fictional guise.

 

Cave has also written scripts and screenplays, including the screenplay for The Proposition, set in the outback of his country of origin Australia, and directed by his friend John Hillcoat, who also directed a film in which Cave appeared in 1989, and who is directing the film of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, for which Cave is writing the soundtrack. Cave also worked on a script for a follow-up to The Gladiator at the urging of Russell Crowe, but the film was never made. The Death of Bunny Munro also started life as a screenplay - Hillcoat had asked Cave to write a screenplay about a travelling salesman, and Cave produced the finished work in three weeks. Cave turned it into a novel because the film was thought to be too costly to make.

 

I never read Cave's debut novel And The Ass Saw The Devil, but from what I've heard, some of its themes recurr in The Death of Bunny Munro: the fear of death, the feeling of death close by, an alcoholic parent.

 

The main character in The Death of Bunny Munro is the eponymous Bunny, a door-to-door salesman with what would, in today's medicalised culture, be termed an 'addiction' to sex. Bunny is rampant. Every woman he sees is visualised automatically by his brain as a potentially receptive set of genitals with a person (inconveniently) attached. His misogynistic view of women is often imaginative - he sees one voluptuous woman as a mass of 'custard-injected profiteroles' or a ' wet bag of overripe peaches'. The only woman he has feelings for is his wife, Libby, but being faithful to her doesn't even enter his head. She -unsurprisingly - suffers from severe depression as a result of his womanising. They have a prodigiously smart nine year-old son, Bunny Junior.

 

Bunny Senior's existence seems to consist of visiting female clients on the pretext of selling them beauty products, and seducing them. If his travelling job involves staying in seedy hotels, so much the better, as they provide more potential for casual sex. He has a degree of delusion about his attractiveness ('there's a pull, ...a magnetic drag..., a mischievous arch to his eyebrows and the little hymen-popping dimples in his cheeks when he laughs'), but his score rate is still pretty impressive. Then again, even 0.01% of every woman you meet amounts to a lot of shagging.

 

When tragedy strikes early on in the book with the unexpected death of Libby, Bunny Senior is left with Bunny Junior to look after. Bunny Jr clearly adores his father and, despite the roles of parent and nurtured being reversed, Bunny Jr loves being with his dad. The story follows the two during the days after the trauma, when Bunny Sr drags his son around with him while he visits clients. There is an impending sense of doom, both in Bunny Sr's head and in the novel itself, as Bunny Sr continues to live hedonistically for the present, drowning himself in liquor and licentiousness.

 

I knew Cave was a highly talented songwriter, but I had no idea that that gift would translate into straight fiction. The Death of Bunny Munro is a book of poetic intensity with resonant, haunting prose. Cave frequently creates visually striking, dreamy images:

 

'.. the boy watches the sun as it falls beyond the horizon and casts the sea in yellow gold, then pink gold, and then an ethereal, sorrowing blue.'

 

He often seems to grasp exactly the right words to use, even when they are used in an unusual context:

 

'a faraway voice that rises up from the soft curds of sleep.'

 

This luminous language is particularly moving when it applies to Bunny Junior, who is grieving for his mother:

 

'He will think that even though his mother would come into his room and hold him and stroke his forehead and cry her eyes out, her hand was still the softest, sweetest, warmest thing he had ever felt, and he will look up and see a flock of starlings trace the angles of her face in the sky.'

 

Cave also conveys with remarkable sensitivity the confusion the boy feels at his father's behaviour, which is mixed in with his unflinching loyalty to him:

 

'The boy smiles at Bunny, but the smile is the kind of smile that looks like it has fallen off the child's face, shattered on the ground and then been glued back together at random - it's a zigzag smile, a seasaw smile, a wonky little broken smile.'

 

More often, though, Cave employs this sharp-witted talent with words to humourous effect. Sometimes this is to convey Bunny Senior's nerve-strung state of mind: '...something has changed in his wife's voice, the soft cellos have gone and a high rasping violin has been added, played by an escaped ape or something' , or: 'He draws (his eyes) open extravagantly and vulcanised daylight and the screaming of birds deranges the room', or: 'Somewhere in the outer reaches of his consciousness he becomes aware of a manic twittering sound, a tinnitus of enraged protest, almost electronic in its horror...'.

 

At other times, the use of deliciously apt vocabulary is simply to jazz up descriptions of the ordinary: 'She has... a conga-line of raw acne across her forehead...', or 'Graeme is a tall man with a huge, round, aggressive head and a seriously sunburned face - a human stop sign'.

 

Some of Cave's writing reads like contemporary urban poetry, so astute is its grasp of unspoken threat, such as this description of 'hoodies':

 

'The young men suck on their cigarettes, jets of nostril smoke issuing from the obscurity of their hoods. No one says anything but there is a general ratcheting-up of the potential for violence as the youths realign their bodies inside their giant, comic-book clothes. The youth in the middle propels a bead of spittle into the air and it lands at Bunny's feet.'

 

Although related in the third person , using the reader-involving present tense, the narrator has insight into Bunny Senior's point of view. Occasionally this switches momentarily to Bunny Jr's perceptions, and the reader is struck by how brave and mature this bereaved child is. The boy's faith in his father holds until the end and he is given strength by imagined conversations with his mother's ghost.

 

(continued)

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The sex is frequent and frantic but not gratuitous. Depictions of Bunny Senior are so humiliating as to be hilarious: 'his cock feels and looks like something that has been involved in a terrible accident - a cartoon hotdog, maybe, that has made an unsucessful attempt to cross a busy road.'

 

Although Bunny Senior is a real unreconstructed, knuckle-dragging caveman, he doesn't come across as evil like other notorious literary predators such as Bret Easton Ellis's Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He just seems sad, hovering near the edge of life and about to take a fatal tumble. As the story goes on, his acts become more depraved, and the sense of the end approaching that he has felt in flashes seems to inure him to any emotion whatsoever.

 

It's easy to see that this novel started out as a screenplay, so cinematic are some of its scenes. Imagine this excerpt transposed onto the big screen:

 

'After a while Bunny stands up and slaps the dust from his trousers, then moves down the darkened hall as if he is walking into a great wind and, in time, he arrives at a black door. The piercing sonic oscillation is louder here and Bunny puts his hands over his ears and peers closely at a large poster ... he feels new tears scald his cheeks and he reaches out and traces, with his finger, the tender contours of her infinitely beautiful face, as if by doing so he could bring her miraculously to life.'

 

This is a sometimes stunning, always compelling novel of a lost soul ploughing intractably towards destruction, and of the devastation wrought by such people on those close to them. I could often imagine Cave's voice reading the text, especially since there are aspects that seem to fit closely with his verbal style, such as the frequent verbal tic of adding 'or something' unnecessarily at the end of a sentence, which occurs around 30 times. I believe there is an audio version of the book due out, which Cave diehards may want to wait for. For all others, I'd advise buying this book now. It's strange and disturbing, but it is full of the raw power of Cave's musical endeavours.

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I just didn't see the point of it.

 

I understood Bunny's disintegration and his son's oblivious hero worship. I even suspected some of the things that were hinted at. I thought the book was very well written and easy to read.

 

I just thought it was all rather pointless.

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I've stuck my review of it in the thread above this one.

In fact it's now here, Leyla. The other thread is for the details of obtaining the book and people noting if they've started, etc. The discussion thread is the place for actual chat about the book.

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Thanks for moving it, David.

 

 

I just didn't see the point of it.

 

I understood Bunny's disintegration and his son's oblivious hero worship. I even suspected some of the things that were hinted at. I thought the book was very well written and easy to read.

 

I just thought it was all rather pointless.

 

tagesmann, my interpretation of the motive behind writing the novel includes the fact that Cave himself feels like he could easily have gone down that path - there but for the grace of God. Cave has admitted in interviews that the running commentary on women is something that he's experienced, but he stresses that he doesn't act on it as he's happily married to the model Susie Bick. He loves his sons and is a dedicated father, but I think he can see how it would be possible to go down the path of excess and oblivious hedonism. In the '80s Cave took most drugs going, he was addicted to heroin, the tours with The Birthday Party and The Bad Seeds were pretty wild, and I think he had some very dark days, especially when he lived in Berlin. So for me, the story had a resonance because it outlined what could so easily happen to a man given to excess.

I'd be interested in reading more about Cave's faith. I wonder how much of a role that played in keeping him from the edge. It always surprises me when a wild rock star is religious, for some reason - I feel the same shock at the fact that Brandon Flowers of The Killers is a Christian, though he could in no way be labeled as wild as Cave.

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Leyla

 

I hadn't read your review when I responded yesterday. It's very good! But I think I should take issue with some of your views.

 

You said the sex is frequent and frantic but not gratuitous. I appreciated the way that Cave made the sex very "straight". (He could have indulged in some interesting perversities - which would not have been appropriate). But I'm afraid, for me, it was gratuitous. And even while I laughed out loud at some of the scenes, at the same time I felt that they detracted from the story.

 

You also thought that Bunny Jr. was brave and mature. For me, Bunny Jr. came across as an intelligent confused innocent. He wasn't brave, he was lost. He was being deserted by an uncaring selfish adult (who had no concept of parenthood).

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Thanks, tagesmann.

 

I didn't feel the sex was gratuitous, but then the last book with a lot of sex in it that I tried to read was Chuck Palahniuk's Pygmy which sickened me with its gratuitous and violent sex. The only sex scene in The Death of Bunny Munro that really disturbed me was the one where

he rapes the girl who is strung out on heroin. That was hideous because the reader was led to believe that she might have been dead, so it was a barbaric act of necrophilia. But I didn't think it was gratuitous because I think Cave wanted us to realise how depraved Bunny Sr had got.

 

There were, of course, many other scenes that were disturbing which didn't involve the actual sex act, such as when

Bunny is eyeing up a girl dressed provocatively and it transpires that she is three.

But again, I didn't feel they were superfluous - I think they were necessary to show to what depths Bunny Sr had sunk, what a loathsome, lewd, boundary-free person he had become.

 

I agree absolutely with you that Bunny Jr was a lost, confused, intelligent innocent. But I think that having had the parents he had, he was inevitably mature for his age. I don't mean he was coping - far from it; no child could or should have to cope with those circumstances. But I do think that growing up with those parents forced a sort of premature agedness on him so that he was more sensible in many ways than other kids his age (and his father). And I do think he was brave in that he tried so hard to cope with his father - all those brave, confused, lost little smiles, all those attempts to please him. His father was a dreadful parent and Bunny Jr, imo, tried heartbreakingly hard to cope with an unbearable situation.

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my feeling is that Bunny Munro has no redeeming features at all. ...nothing happended to make me change that opinion.

 

So far the book is a very easy to read book without being an easy read.

 

Have to agree with tagesmann.

 

I've never heard a single track by Nick Cave, or any of his bands, so I can't comment on his skill as a lyricist. However, being a clever lyricist (as many critics and fans seem to indicate) does not guarantee having the skill to carry a story over the course of a whole novel. Yes there are , I agree , some patches of impressive prose, but overall the characters seem more surreal than real.

Leyla, I think your review was very well written and argued, and enjoyed reading it, but I wonder how much you were influenced by your admiration by Cave's song oeuvre?

I found the constant references to female genitalia; implied paedophilia; and rape very uncomfortable and distracting.

In his defence, I believe the project started as a potential screenplay, and I can see cinematic elements in the book.

Cave is not alone in being an admired lyricist but not novelist. John Lennon & Leonard Cohen are more popular due to their music output, so he is in good company :)

my advice, for what it is worth, would be to stick to the day job Nick

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His misogynistic view of women is often imaginative - he sees one voluptuous woman as a mass of 'custard-injected profiteroles' or a ' wet bag of overripe peaches'.

I saw the book as being about Bunny's destructive greed, he himself calls it his "appetite" so these descriptions, I felt, fitted very well with that remit. Describing women as food and the countless references to 'eating' genitalia all added to the limitless appetite he had for sex and hedonism.

 

Cave also conveys with remarkable sensitivity (the)... unflinching loyalty

I thought Bunny Jnr's loyalty and defense of his father was actually more upsetting than the death of Libby. In a way, it subversively recalls another Salesman, Willy Lomax in Death of a Salesman - as Willy thinks he is a role model whereas his kids think very little of him. I felt so terribly distraught for young Bunny as he had to tolerate his pathetic, immature and selfish father. I also wondered of the name 'Bunny' was calling to mind Updike's 'Rabbit'.

 

On the sex, I didn't think it was gratuitous as the book was really about the destructive appetite of Bunny, and how else could Cave show the endless appetite other than endlessly detail Bunny's thoughts and actions. I will say that I found it tedious, reading his imaginings and reducings of women to vaginas over and over again - but then, was that the point - to bore the reader as Bunny was bored but at the mercy of his appetite? Were we at the mercy of Bunny's story too?

 

On the whole, I can say I enjoyed this book, I enjoyed Cave's writing. I did not like Bunny at all - he is everything I dislike in the male species - how could any woman like him? The section I would say I enjoyed the most was Bunny's recollection of Penny Cradle (?) in the swimming pool, when he realised for the first time the power he had over females and the wide variety that was on offer for him.

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Hazel, I thought your comments were very insightful. I think some readers have been put off the book because Bunny Senior is such an odious character, but I would argue that disliking a character and disliking a book are two different things. Bunny Sr's habit of seeing women as genitalia and his borderline paedophilia which tom hated *are* disturbing, but he's a contemptible man. He's like the nightmare creation that would result if macho, sexist men who objectify and use women had no boundaries and allowed themselves to do whatever they wanted to. But I felt Bunny Senior was to be pitied as much as loathed - he obviously had issues which he was never going to deal with. Although of course, there is never any excuse for abuse, and his negligence of his son was abusive.

 

Hazel, your comment about Updike is very interesting. I hadn't thought of that but you're very astute, Updike's books are full of weak men who are governed by their willies and who put their children last on their list of priorities. Perhaps Bunny is also a reference to Hugh Hefner's Bunny girls who were an early incarnation of objectified women.

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I would argue that disliking a character and disliking a book are two different things.
Absolutely. I think someone, maybe yourself Leyla, mentioned Patrick Bateman, another protagonist we aren't ever supposed to 'like'. But I feel that Bunny is different to Patrick. I wouldn't like Patrick in real life, but as a character I like him very much, I admire his cold calculation, his manipulated facade and yes, I like his brand of evil - as a character I must stress!

 

But Bunny, I neither like him as a RL person or a character - there's little to admire, little to be charmed by. That Cave still holds your attention in the face of that, is to his credit.

 

Perhaps Bunny is also a reference to Hugh Hefner's Bunny girls who were an early incarnation of objectified women.
Of course, that's another symbol of misogyny and objectification of women. Cave's choice of 'Bunny' certainly is multi-layered. Though I felt that it also gave the book an American sensibility. I constantly had to remind myself it was set in Britain.

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Celebrity novelists are often easy to mock; one always has a suspicion that their work might not have been published had they not been famous. Usually that’s a question of quality.

 

In the case of The Death Of Bunny Munro, the real issue is probably the subject matter. Bunny Munro is not a rabbit, he’s a sex maniac - though presumably the reader is supposed to see a parallel between Munro and the legendary proclivity of the rabbit to breed. This would have been an easy subject to address in a hamfisted way, but instead Nick Cave presents us with a dull man who has an empty, lonely life that is scarred by his insatiable appetite for sex. He even recognizes this; he recognizes the damage it did to his marriage to Libby; the damage it does to his relationships with those around him; the damage it probably does to his career. For all the sex, there seems to be no gratification. It is very matter of fact. And, as it turns out, not even with particularly attractive women. In a telling moment, Bunny Munro is discussing with colleagues who is a breast man and who is a leg man. Bunny declares that he is a vagina man. He’s no interest in the person or in the foreplay - just the mechanical act.

 

The novel particularly focuses on the days immediately following Libby’s death. It shows a very disturbing grief reaction as Bunny’s life falls apart - the one anchor point in his life is removed and Bunny fails to deal with the situation. He is landed with Bunny Jr to look after; a job that seems to be little more than an entry card into Brighton bedrooms; and a complete inability to look after himself. The result is pitiable for the sake of Bunny, but deeply concerning for the wellbeing of Junior. He’s pulled from school, pulled from the family home and expected to keep watch as Bunny goes off on his salesman’s rounds. Junior is portrayed as malleable, scared and bewildered but constantly seeking approval from a father who is behaving unpredictably. At times, Junior seems trusting, at other times he seems helplessly terrified.

 

The reader’s perception of Bunny, Junior and their relationship then undergoes a paradigm shift as Bunny Sr is introduced. This turns what might have been ordinary fare into something far more interesting. It offers some insight into who Bunny actually is; why he is like that; and perhaps even where Junior is heading.

 

If there is a lack in the novel, it is a clear understanding of whether Bunny behaves in quite such a despicable way all the time or whether his bad qualities have been magnified by grief. The sex, we understand, is constant. The other misdemeanours and transgressions seem somewhat out of character and, perhaps, not sustainable over time.

 

The language is plain, straightforward and deadpan. Not a million miles from a Nick Cave lyric. But for all that, it is a rich, deceptively complex novel which defies being read in long sessions. The plot, for all it is, will not linger long. It’s the characterization that is the real strength of The Death Of Bunny Munro.

 

****o

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I won't bother with a tedious plot rundown, but I do have a few comments to make.

 

Firstly, I really do think the references to John Updike's Rabbit books are far too deeply embedded in the plot to be merely coincidental. It's not just the character's name, it's also Bunny's profession as a salesman, his obsession with sex, his relationship with a wife who suffers because of his womanising, even the mother-in-law's anger towards him. The child in Rabbit, Run is even more tragically neglected than Bunny Jr.

 

There are very obvious nods, too, to the play Death of a Salesman. The title, once again, the job. Willie Loman - the salesman - has a son whose success becomes his obsession, just as the father/son relationship is crucial to Bunny Munro. Even more pertinently, Willie

kills himself by crashing his car

.

 

It was thinking about the similarities between this book and the Miller play that made me wonder about something. Those scenes where Bunny seems to be having consensual sex with a woman and later reveals that her drugs are wearing off. The girl he seems to have sex with as she is dying. I think there's a scene where a waitress he had sex with runs from him in horror. How possible is it that, in a Willy Loman-style of delusion, most of Bunny's seductions are drugged rape?

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The language is plain, straightforward and deadpan. Not a million miles from a Nick Cave lyric. But for all that, it is a rich, deceptively complex novel which defies being read in long sessions. The plot, for all it is, will not linger long. It’s the characterization that is the real strength of The Death Of Bunny Munro.

 

****o

 

Just finisehd reading and couldn't agree more with MisterHobgoblin.

 

The writing is fine, nothing to rave about but I have no quibbles with it either, it does it job and maybe the 'deapan' style is an attribute in itself. What really involved and fascinated me was the sheer force of the character, he couldn't be ignored, the sex was not gratitious, it was essential to understanding the depths to which Bunny Munroe had sunk; this was truly a portrait of a man in the depths of despair and depravity. I also found the triplicate imagery tantalising; Bunny Junior, Bunny Munroe and Bunny Senior, it was like the three ages of his possible life all served up at once; what was, what is and what could be. There are hints also of abuse in his earlier life, not sexual, mabye physical. I think this fall was long in the making, from childhood through to adult life; three ASBOs alone in the Sussex area, bannning from various fast food outlets, the letters on the fridge, the hatred from Libby's parents. Who really knows what the final nail in his coffin was, Libby's death, or seeing what had become of his father, or a combination of both. In some ways it was quite a simple piece of writing, but once you begin to contemplate it, the layers reveal themselves. For someone who hasn't written a novel for twenty years (?) I think Cave has done a damn fine job. Yet another excellent publication from Canongate Books.

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. How possible is it that, in a Willy Loman-style of delusion, most of Bunny's seductions are drugged rape?

 

I think it's made fairly clear that Munro is deluded on many fronts, especially about his attractiveness (both physical and in terms of personality) to women. He admires himself in the mirror on several occasions and is never alarmed at his reflection, even when he has become frighteningly ravaged in appearance. He repeatedly does that bunny thing which he's convinced women find cute - the waggling his fingers behind his ears - even though it's obvious women often find it tedious. And he has no insight - or no conscious insight, at any rate - into the depths to which he has sunk by raping the junkie girl. So I think it's highly likely that a lot of the 'seductions' he looks back on were actually non consensual sex, and some of them may have involved him drugging his victims.

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Nick Cave was interviewed on the Today programme this morning about his composition of music for the audio version of Bunny M. It slides into general thoughts on the use of music on audio books and you can contribute your own suggestions of soundtracks for other novels.

 

Whilst it's on listen again you can hear it from Tuesday's edition here. Scroll down to the 8.40 segment.

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How possible is it that, in a Willy Loman-style of delusion, most of Bunny's seductions are drugged rape?

I didn't really see any evidence of this in the writing. Many of the women seemed to be quite 'available' except of course Bunny's complete misreading of Charlotte, she who busts his nose, the old lady, who has her rings stolen and of course the already drugged girl, and this latter seems to be the only one that really stands out as non-consensual sex. If my memory serves me correct the others seemed to be very willing. Or did I miss something?

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Cassie, I see where you're coming from but I think what Kim and I were suggesting was that Bunny's testimony, which is what we have to go on, may not be reliable.

I've just opened the book at random and it was at page 52 where Bunny is musing about what caused Libby to do what she did. She had burnt her love letters from him before she carried out the act, and Bunny clearly has no idea why she acted as she did. He thinks 'she must have been crazy.' Any person with normal insight into themselves would know that it was his philandering and repeated adultery that drove Libby to it. So there are many suggestions that Bunny is not reliable and lacks any degree of insight into himself. His total lack of concern at his son sitting waiting in the car for hours and missing school is another example. Although the novel is not related in the first person which is what I would normally associate with a very subjective, unreliable narrator, the third person narration here is not an objective, balanced view.

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There is also the breakfast waitress from the hotel start of the book. When Bunny meets her later in the book she warns him off with obvious fear. He must have done something wrong - even if it isn't described in the book.

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Yes, that's another good example, tagesmann. I remember wondering what he had done to make her recoil like that. Just abandoning her after sex wouldn't really account for that degree of apprehension on her part.

 

It's a very clever book because you can take it on any level - you can believe what Bunny says and appreciate the book on that level, or you can look further and realise how deluded he is.

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I don't think it matters whether or not the women gave their consent. The novel's not really about them, it's about Bunny. I think the novel is fair and square about a man who is destroyed by his insatiable desires.

 

Sure, there's a scene where Bunny appears to be using Rohypnol as a recreational drug - and one asks why would Bunny have Rohypnol if he didn't use it to have unconsensual intercourse - but it just adds to a picture of a man who sees intercourse as a job. Rohypnol would just be a tool of the trade. Perhaps I misread it and the Rohypnol had been used on someone else. Nevertheless, I don't think it really matters.

 

Disappointed, though, to hear that the book is essentially a reworking of John Updike. I had thought Bunny seemed quite original as I was reading it - finding out that it wasn't rather changed my overall evaluation of the book.

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      For a change this is a collection of short stories which sound deeply weird and wonderful!
       
      You can see more about Pretty Monsters here and you can bagsy your copy when Andrea posts to give the go-ahead.
       
      <iframe src="http://rcm-uk.amazon.co.uk/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=12D4E3&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=bookgrouponli-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&m=amazon&f=ifr&asins=1847677835" style="width:120px;height:240px;" scrolling="no" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>
    • By canongatebooks
      The next book available for The Canongate Read is The Last Station by Jay Parini. This is not a new book, but in light of the Oscar-nominated film (released in the UK next week) adaptation of Parini's novel, we've published this tie-in edition.

      Synopsis
      1910. Anna Karenina and War and Peace have made Leo Tolstoy the world's most famous author. But fame comes at a price. In the tumultuous final year of his life, Tolstoy is desperate to find respite, so leaves his large family and the hounding press behind and heads into the wilderness. Too ill to venture beyond the tiny station of Astapovo, he believes his last days will pass in peaceful isolation. But the battle for Tolstoy's soul will not be so simple.

      We can offer ten (10) copies to UK and European subscribers of Book Group Online. Be sure to post in this thread as well as sending me a message to claim your copy.

      Reviews
      'An impressively knowing and sensitive performance, a wistful late twentieth-century tribute to the giant conflicts of a more titanic age.' Observer

      'One of those rare works of fiction that manage to demonstrate both scrupulous historical research and true originality of voice and perception.' New York Times Book Review

      'Jay Parini has written a stylish, beautifully paced and utterly beguiling novel.' Sunday Times
    • By canongatebooks
      Hello. I've got ten (10) copies of Trevor Byrne's debut novel Ghosts and Lightning to give away to BGO subscribers with addresses in UK/Europe.

      Please post in this thread to 'reserve' one, and send me a private message with your mailing details as well.

      Synopsis
      Squabbling siblings, misfit school-friends and life on the estates of West Dublin are trouble enough. But then a ghost starts haunting the family home and Denny's life starts getting properly complicated. Hilarious, warm and tragic by turns, Ghosts and Lightning is a refreshing tale of one young man doing the right thing when surrounded by all the wrong choices and finding love in the most unlikely places.

      Reviews
      'Byrne's voice crackles with energy and dark humour in a richly-evoked novel of Dublin family life.' Irish Independent

      'Engaging and funny. Trevor Byrne delivers an acute portrayal of loss in a story filled with warmth, humour and wonder.' CATHERINE O'FLYNN, author of What Was Lost

      'Very powerful. Often funny, sometimes frightening, always very human. I loved it.' RODDY DOYLE

      'An amazing book, written with force and passion. And Denny is a very funny and slightly demented tour guide to twenty-first century Dublin.' MATT HAIG
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