Saturday, 17 April 2010
I have to be honest; I only picked up this book because Stephen Fry publically announced his fondness of it. Until that point I had never heard of the book nor its author. I had never seen it in any book shop, charity shop, Amazon.co.uk or anywhere else. It just came out of nowhere and drew my attention. I’m so glad it did. I enjoyed it so much I finished it in one sitting which is unusual for me.
This book has been described as a ’modern fable’ and I can see why. It has all the elements of a fable, in the most unlikely of settings; a small American shack in the middle of nowhere set in modern times.
Arguably the main character is Jake; a spindly, foul-mouthed, cantankerous 99 year old man who believes he will live forever because of a special moonshine whiskey he distils and drinks in copious amounts. He is a character of genius; wonderfully irreverent, gloriously rude and very funny. He had me in stitches on several occasions throughout the book. His grandson ‘Tiny’ is the polar opposite of his grandfather, quiet and thoughtful he enjoys building fences and little else. He keeps Jake on the straight and narrow. Then there’s Fup; a female mallard duck that appears one day in mysterious circumstances, is hand raised by Jake and Tiny and soon becomes one of the family.
The story is short; barely more than 100 pages but despite this Dodge manages to put in more than enough character development and builds the relationship between the three until you couldn’t see them apart from each other.
I can’t say too much about the ending but I will say I didn't like it. I can’t really say more than that without giving the end away but I did feel it was a very disappointing end to such a marvellous book.
The final verdict is 4/5