Undermajordomo Minor

Undermajordomo Minor

eBook - 2015
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From the bestselling, Man Booker-short-listed author of The Sisters Brothers comes a brilliant and boisterous novel that reimagines the folk tale

A love story, an adventure story, a fable without a moral, and an ink-black comedy of manners, Undermajordomo Minor is Patrick deWitt's long-awaited follow-up to the internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel The Sisters Brothers.

Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the bucolic hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, Lucy is a compulsive liar, a sickly weakling in a town famous for producing brutish giants. Then Lucy accepts employment assisting the Majordomo of the remote, foreboding Castle Von Aux.

While tending to his new post as Undermajordomo, Lucy soon discovers the place harbors many dark secrets, not least of which being the whereabouts of the castle's master, Baron Von Aux. He also encounters the colorful people of the local village--thieves, madmen, aristocrats, and Klara, a delicate beauty for whose love he must compete with the exceptionally handsome soldier Adolphus. Thus begins a tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery, and cold-blooded murder in which every aspect of humanity is laid bare for our hero to observe.

Undermajordomo Minor is an adventure, a mystery, and a searing portrayal of rural Alpine bad behavior, but above all it is a love story--and Lucy must be careful, for love is a violent thing.

Publisher: New York : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishing, [2015]
ISBN: 9780062281234
0062281232
Branch Call Number: Overdrive eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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f
Fontaine1
Jan 28, 2017

I wanted to enjoy this book so much as I had really enjoyed DeWitt's previous novel, The Sisters Brothers. Although both books do share the feel of an adult fairy tale, Undermajordomo is written in a much more fantasy style and therefore feels much more unrealistic. It is impossible not to like the protagonist of the story, Lucy Minor, in his naïve and kind way he joyfully leads the reader into his world and into this new adventure. Also the book is sprinkled with some well described characters that the reader does feel he or she has grown to know well. However the story lacked real depth for me and very little for the reader to feast on. You are taken quickly through very short chapters as the story moves on but there were few twists or drama to keep me interested. Unfortunately I was willing it to end as quickly as possible. A difficult genre to pull off with success. Not recommended.

j
jalee_0
Aug 02, 2016

Very enjoyable fast read. Unique style, similar in tone to his other book The Sisters Brothers. Lots of dry humor. Highly recommend.

v
velvetcactus
Apr 06, 2016

Try as I might, I could not get into it.

p
PennPal
Jan 25, 2016

Enjoyed almost as much as Sisters Brothers; but oddly enough through several sections I kept getting the feeling/sense that I had read similar, if not the same material before.

c
CMLibrary_gjd_0
Jan 05, 2016

While not as good as The Sisters Brothers, this author has a unique and engaging style. If you like books that are out of the ordinary, pick this one up today.

j
JimLoter
Dec 13, 2015

This is Patrick deWitt's follow up to his great and enjoyable pseudo-western The Sisters Brothers. This time around, he takes on the Gothic fairy tale genre with a tale of a young man, Lucy Minor, and his new position as assistant to the majordomo of the Castle Von Aux. The castle has fallen into disrepair following the death of the former undermajordomo, the departure of the Baroness, and the decline of the Baron into madness. Meanwhile, troops battle on the hillside for no discernible reason, Lucy befriends a pair of pickpockets, and he falls in love with a beautiful young woman from the village, Klara.

I found the book just as enjoyable to read as "The Sisters Brothers" but it is missing that book's clever mix of both gravity and whimsy. While "The Sisters Brothers" introduced serious reflections and commentary on the nature of violence peppered in with snappy dialog and comedic interludes, "Undermajordomo Minor" attempts the same with the nature (and many manifestations) of love. But the book keeps its characters largely at arm's length so the actual feelings they experience are more reported on than felt. Only at the very end, after Lucy is nearly broken down, do we start to get a true glimpse into his psyche.

lbarkema Nov 29, 2015

There wasn't any depth to the story. It was silly and very Monty Python-esque, which is ok, but not the kind of story I'm going to read over and over. Pretty sure I will promptly forget this whole "plot" in a month's time. At least it was simply written and a really fast read, with a few bits of humor that I enjoyed. Save for these few moments, I'm not very interested in reading anything else by him, sadly.

f
FlingingPasta
Nov 26, 2015

While DeWitt lists several plausible inspirations, I could swear this was written by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame, with more than a few touches of "Fractured Fairy Tales" thrown in for good measure. This is my first DeWitt, but I'm sure to start heading backward to "Ablutions" then "The Sisters Brothers". Really drawn into this one.

l
lukasevansherman
Oct 27, 2015

Canadian-born, Portland-based novelist Patrick DeWitt received much acclaim for his peculiar, darkly comic take on the western, "The Sisters Brothers," which was short-listed for the Booker. His new book is also something of an idiosyncratic novel, in this case a mix of the Gothic novel, family mystery, and folktale. There are castles, Barons, dukes, a man named Lucy, and a chapter called "Klara the Beguiler." It's all very clever without being especially good or interesting. In the acknowledgements, he cites the post-modern folktales of Italo Calvino as an influence, but he's hardly at that level. It feels more like a parody than a homage, with bits of Kafka, Dinesen, and English Gothic novelists (Walpole, Lewis, Radcliffe) floating about. It's a fast read, but it also shows how difficult this kind of story is for a more "literary" writer.

q
Qwfwq
Oct 08, 2015

Like a lot of people, I was completely won over by the The Sisters Brothers and was anxious to see how deWitt could follow it up. And my verdict? I'm not entirely sure. There were three plot points that I felt violated the "rules" which deWitt implied for the novel from its outset. The whole spirit of the book came off the rails (for me at least) and I can't quite overlook these flaws. That said, I think it is still a very remarkable novel. I can think of very few books where the tone is so charming, in fact the style of the narrative is so engaging that I almost did not care about the plot very much. Like in The Sisters Brothers, expectations are subverted, and I found the ending very satisfactory although I suspect many others will feel cheated. In the end the book had me questioning my own relationship to the books I read. What more could one ask from a novel than that? Well, maybe one that didn't have those near-fatal flaws I mentioned.

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