am 5. Juni 2000
I found out about Christopher Moore a couple of weeks ago and picked up this book because there is a shortage -- or at least I can never seem to find -- humorous speculative fiction a la Douglas Adams, who is hilarious. I wasn't expecting anything up to Adams' level and I wasn't disappointed, although the book wasn't horrible by any means, just a bit on the mediocre side. I zipped through the first 200 pages in 2 days, then took another 2 days to force myself through the last 40 -- just the opposite of what you'd expect. When they started discussing their big plans to catch, kill, whatever, the demon. By that point, not really caring about any of the characters in the first place, I didn't really care what their overly-confusing plans were, I just wanted to finish the book.
There was some humor in the book, but not too much, and some of it was groan-inducing. That bit about the huge owl being a good military design only if the opposing army had field mouse shaped tanks? All I can say is...wow. That's humor? No, that's PROFESSIONALLY published humor? Actually the funniest part had nothing to do with the storyline, but was that bit about all the perfumes and lotions Jennifer put into her tub making the building blocks for life, and when she dropped the soap into the water, that life let out its death gasp. That was great. Another 20 or 30 like that and you'd be 3 chapters into a Douglas Adams book. This is Moore's first book, though, and I'm going to read at least one more to see if he got better. Either his vampire book or the Lust Lizard one, both of which sound good. Oh, there's a lot of character hopping in this book which distracts from ever getting really involved in it, so if you don't like jumping around inside of point-of-view characters every 4 or 5 pages, give this one a pass. And as for the humor, don't let anything I said about it sway you one way or the other. The funny thing about humor is that what one person considers laugh out loud funny will provoke only the slightest twitch at the corner of another person's lip, or even a groan, so give this book, or any of Moore's, a try if you enjoy speculative humorous fiction as I do. I'm sure there are people out there who think Douglas Adams is humorless too. You can never tell with something as subjective as humor.
am 20. September 2007
Wenn man wie ich dem paranormalen Fieber verfallen ist und sich mit Büchern über Vampire, Werwölfe und ähnlich gruselige Genossen eindeckt, erkundet man früher oder später auch die Randgebiete dieses Genres und stösst auf Christopher Moore.
So habe ich mich völlig unbefangen und ohne recht zu wissen, worauf ich mich einlasse an "Practical Demonkeeping" gesetzt.
Hier geht es um Catch, einen menschenverschlingenden Dämon und seinen Meister Travis, die seit Jahren gemeinsam durch die Lande reisen. Während Catch die Bevölkerung dezimiert, sucht Travis nach dem Geheimnis, wie er die Geister ... bzw. den Dämon, den er rief, wieder los wird. So kommen die beiden nach Pine Cove, einem verschlafenen Nest an der kalifornischen Küste, wo Travis endlich eine Spur findet. Doch es könnte zu spät sein, denn Catch gerät ausser Kontrolle und will sich einen neuen Meister suchen.
Ich habe lange gebraucht, um in dieses Buch überhaupt hineinzufinden. Dabei ist dies eigentlich kein schlechtes Buch und hat durchaus seine Höhepunkte. Doch leider wechselt der Autor nach jedem sehr kurzen Kapitel die Erzählperspektive zwischen zu vielen Personen, so dass man zu keiner eine richtige Bindung aufbaut. Es ist überhaupt keine der Personen des Buches so richtig sympathisch, alle weisen deutliche Charakterschwächen auf und es ist keine so richtig darauf ausgelegt, sich mit ihr (oder ihm) identifizieren könnte. So bleibt man stets ein ferner Beobachter der Geschichte und es gelang mir bis zuletzt nicht richtig in sie "hineinzusinken".
Dafür muss man Moore jedoch zugute halten, dass er über Witz und Originalität verfügt und diese zudem in angenehmer Sprache zu Papier zu bringen weiss. Was ja schon einiges Wert ist. Insgesamt fühlt sich die Geschichte zwar zu "verzettelt" an, ist nun aber auch nicht komplett in den Sand gesetzt.
am 10. April 2010
This is the first published book from Christopher Moore, and even though that counts for a damn old child prodigy, it is very very good. Many people tend to make comparisons between the other books, and say if it is better or worse. I don't think this is the best method, the author guy has his own style, that is terrific both as funny and entertaining. Practical Demonkeeping is set in Pine Cove, as well as The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove and The Stupidest Angel. It's really cool how, even though these books have not much to do with each other, you end up following the characters from one book to the other. Here the main character is called Augustus Brine (that has a really side appearance in Coyote Blue) and he is set with one very strange dwarf-sided ancient Djinn, to save the world (or well at least his town) from being swallowed by Catch, an incredibly cranky and sneaky and also ancient Demon.
It is pure fun.
am 26. Juli 1998
Christopher Moore's "Practical Demonkeeping" is an interesting novel. Moore is an extraordinarily funny writer, and the book almost reads like an extended stand-up routine for parts of it. Unfortunately, though, Moore tries to weave in far too many disjointed themes and characters, and the book suffers as a result. He switches repeatedly between stories, paying dutiful homage to notions of backstory and character development without every fully embracing them. And that is a shame because there is so much to like in the book.
The story is about Catch, a demon, and his travelling companion, Travis, a man who appears to be in his twenties if only because he has not aged since meeting Catch. The two make their way to Pine Cove, California, where an oddball assortment of locals unknowingly awaits the events that will unfold. And those events, given Catch's taste for humans, do not promise to be all wine and roses. When a Djinn shows up, too, a confrontatio! n is in the works. The Djinn and Travis hope to rid themselves and the world of Catch. But Catch soon develops plans of his own.
The style and substance of "Practical Demonkeeping" bear more than a little resemblance to those of Jane Heller's "Infernal Affairs." Both novels deal with supernatural nemeses in comic pieces. But Heller's characters are more compelling, while those in "Practical Demonkeeping" are, for the most part, caricatures whose quirks are lovingly explored but for whom there is no real emotional attachment. Still, Moore's considerable skill as a crafter of prose and his humor make the novel pass easily and enjoyably. It's just that the chapters seem more like anecdotes that, in the end, happen to be connected.
am 27. April 1999
"Practical Demonkeeping" is the funniest book I have read in ages. Christopher Moore is such a welcome change from all the other tired, un-hip authors who somehow keep managing to get published. I recommend this story wholeheartedly to anyone who craves weird but lovable characters. Or anybody who just loves a happy ending. Without giving away too much, I must say that the human characters are surprisingly modern but not mainstream and while fantastic, are totally recognizable. As for the supernatural characters, their personalities are very fixed, evolved and side splittingly funny. I'm sure that when I meet other Moore fans, all I will have to say is "Excuse me, but could I trouble you for a pinch of salt" to send them into gales of hysterical laughter. On one hand, I'd like everyone to read this wonderful, truly original story; on the other, I'd like to keep it and Christopher Moore all to myself. If you are a goth, Goddess worshipper, horror fan, hippie, stoner, philosopher, twisted or have ever spent time in Northern California, you HAVE to read this book.
am 5. Februar 2000
This is the thing about Christopher Moore's books: they are incredibly imaginative, but also incredibly bizarre. He has a sense of humor that can only be roughly categorized as irreverant, dark, wicked, witty, and "outside the box."
He may be an acquired taste, but I doubt it. I think either you click with him or you don't. Because that's the case, the best thing to do is to read a bit from one of his books before you decide to buy it.
With that out of the way, "Practical Demonkeeping" is probably the best of his books. It's much tighter in plot than its very loose sequel, "Lust Lizard." But there's not a big difference between his best and his worst; while they're all in different settings (demons, vampires, American Indian gods, Pacific islanders, or monsters), they are all basically vehicles for his bizarre humor.
am 9. Mai 2000
The only reason why I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 is because it is so much like a Terry Pratchett book that I felt like I was reading a very good imitator in places.
Strangely lighthearted for a book about a demon that eats people and the reluctant "master" that tries to keep him from it, this book has plenty to offer - strange characters, neat plot twists, and some great background mythology. The few drawbacks include the fact that the characters seem uniformly odd and that some of the more grim aspects of the story (spousal abuse, alcoholism, etc.) are glossed over as if they wandered in from another book.
Besides that this book is highly entertaining. I loved the demon imitating The Exorcist because he was tired of imitating The Wizard of Oz and the sordid bar scenes.
am 21. August 1999
I first read this book when I was in the Navy four years ago. I was the first to read it and it got passed around the ship through many hands before I saw the tattered copy in eager hands on the mess decks some months later. I couldn't wait to get off watch to find out what was going to happen. When I got to the end I was truly satisfied. Since then I have read much on mythology and discovered that much of the Jewish tradition which Mr. Moore draws from was accurate! Catch may not have been one of the Demons which Solomon "employed" but it is a common belief that Solomon did use demons to build his Temple. I still have a copy of this book and pass it around. I have never heard an ill word said of it.
am 5. Januar 2000
Practical Demonkeeping was a very funny and unique book. While this book is not for everyone -I certainly laughed aloud on several occasions. I liked the characters and thought that it was great for a beach or bus/airplane read.
This is the story of Travis and his pal Catch - the only thing wrong with this traveling duo is that they have been on the road together for 70 years - that and Catch is a demon who can't help but eat people he finds along the way.
Wild and wacky and just plain funny, Practical Demonkeeping is a great read. Enjoy this book - it is a guilty pleasure.
am 31. Mai 2000
There's little physical description of characters in this book, and there's a lot of bouncing around between characters, so I found myself occasionally stopping to figure out which person was which.
For a while I thought the book was complete fluff, but about 3/4 of the way in I ran into some subtle, sophisticated ideas about demons and good and evil.
I still call it a lightweight read, though. Moore takes a lot from the Scooby Doo school of storytelling. A little mystery, a little spookiness mixed in with the ordinary, some danger, some slapstick comedy as the good guys set traps for the bad guys, suspense where the audience either shrieks "DON'T GO IN THERE!" or smacks their foreheads regretfully, and a physically charged climactic ending with a neat resolution. (OK, overall it's more mature than Scooby Doo and has more adult humor.) It's lightweight because the reader is distanced from the characters, not because what's happening isn't supposed to be serious. It's probably GOOD that we're distanced; otherwise it'd be way too depressing and bizarre.
This installment follows the same pattern as Moore's more recent Island of the Sequined Love Nun and The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. 150 pages of sad sack characters in weird lives, then 50 pages of confrontation to the death or at least injury, with cars pulling up to the X on the map and screeching their brakes, people tied up, people sneaking up, people interfering and screwing it all up, good guys outsmarting bad guys, the whole thing boiling to a clever and comical wrapping of loose ends. (In fact, a chapter near the end is titled "Bad Guys, Good Guys", and the very last chapter is titled "Good Guys".)
Moore is talented at laying out diverse plot threads and eventually bringing them together. The reader's job is to stay focused on the threads until they merge. It's all loosely woven, but it does hang together.
I think he hit a better stride with Love Nun and Lust Lizard. They're more complex, with more depth to the characters and the landscape, and more fun. (Less Scooby Doo.) My take on Demonkeeping is that it's a decent lightweight read but don't go out of your way for it. (Do go out of your way for those other two.)