Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Dead Do Not Improve, by Jay Caspian Kang


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It's rare that a book makes me laugh out loud but this one really did. Our hero, Philip Kim, is an over-educated and under-published writer in San Francisco who is so disaffected and self-obsessed that he doesn't even realize his neighbour (apparently nicknamed "The Grey Beaver" in the final edition, but "Baby Molestor" in my advanced galley copy--the "Grey Beaver" thing comes much later and is only mentioned a couple of times, perhaps they changed it?) has been murdered until he stumbles across the news story while Googling himself. Unsatisfied with his limited search engine results, he expands his search to include his address as well as descriptors such as "Asian" and "cheekbones," thinking that maybe a lonely female had spotted him from across the street and was pining over him on the internet but simply didn't know his name. Once he realizes that his neighbour has been murdered (having failed to notice the actual event or subsequent police presence) he decides to immediately take it personally. Thus begins his clumsy and hilarious investigation that has him running from publishers and angry student writers while uncovering a conspiracy that may or may not have anything to do with him (but could get him killed nonetheless). Hilarious!

Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley.com. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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