Monday, October 26, 2009

Book Review: Amberville by Tim Davys

Eric Bear’s perfect life is threatened when crime boss Nicholas Dove comes by to call in a favor. He’s rumored to be on the stuffed animal Death List (which may or may not exist) and he wants Eric to find a way to take him off… or else…

Early on, as I struggled to make sense of the Amberville world, I wondered if perhaps the whole story was in the mind of some twisted human child who owned tons of stuffed animals and was moving them around, “playing” as kids are known to do. Physically, the stuffed animals always stay the same shape - they just fray around the edges as they “age” - which made me think of our world’s rules. But then, they apparently eat, write novels, gamble, and engage in all kinds of everyday activities that would seem to indicate that they are really living, breathing creations.

Well – there is one main thing they can’t do besides change shape, and that is procreate. When the stuffed animals want to have children, they apply for a place on the Cub List, and one lucky day, a green truck delivers a bundle of joy. Correspondingly, a red truck comes when a stuffed animal's time in Amberville is over. Are the two related? Who writes the lists? Is it possible to change the lists? Why are there lists anyway? Why can’t stuffed animals just live forever? These are the questions Eric and the novel ask over the course of the both twisty and surprisingly philosophical narrative.

Although there are some passages that seem rather pointless at the time you read them, they eventually pay off in a clever fashion. So if you’re a moderately patient reader with a penchant for the bizzare (and don’t mind a sometimes clunky translation - the original is in Swedish), you should get a kick out of AMBERVILLE.

AMBERVILLE is available in hardcover now. Find out more about it (and watch a trailer) at its official website.

10 comments:

Liviania said...

It sounded good to me until you said "clunky translation." I still think the reason I don't like ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT much is because I hadn't made it a page before I knew the book had been translated.

Pam said...

I just finished Jasper Fforde's first Nursery Crime novel and it sounds around the same level of bizarre which I am SOMETIMES in the mood for. :O)

bermudaonion said...

Not sure that's for me. I find the cover rather creepy for some reason.

Lenore said...

Livi - Yep, that's the case here. If you can't stand a bad translation, then don't go here. On the other hand, if you like to make fun of bad translation...

Pam - I love Jasper Fforde, but never had the urge to try out those Nursery Crime novels.

Kathy - It is creepy! You should watch the trailer I linked to for a real creepfest. I may never view stuffed animals as innocent again!

caite said...

I like creepy, but this one sounds just a bit too odd for me.

Padfoot and Prongs - Good Books Inc. said...

Hey lady. Thanks for the support during the read-a-thon. Might want to swing by our blog...just a hint :)

Staci said...

I am low on patience so I don't think I would make it through this one. Though I did chuckle at the fact that they can't procreate :)

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

I have almost no patience when it comes to book storylines, so this doesn't sound like a book for me-but it does sound interesting!

Just wanted to thank you for coming over and cheering me on during the Read A Thon! Your support really helped me out. :)

Alice Teh said...

I think I want this. It has an interesting storyline and it's something I'd love to read!

Zibilee said...

This sounds like a really unique and interesting book. I really liked your review and think that this is a story that would be right up my alley. Glad you liked it so much, it does sound like fun.