“The Death of Bunny Munro” by Nick Cave

“The Death of Bunny Munro” by Nick Cave”

Nick Cave’s “The Death of Bunny Munro” has no redeeming moral values whatsoever, but it is a playful sexy romp of a novel.
Bunny Munro is the kind of guy who does not ask himself the tough questions such as the following. Does sharing cocaine with your friends in the living room while your nine year old son is in the adjacent bedroom good parenting? Is calling your wife on the cell phone while the prostitute you are with is using the hotel room bathroom being a good husband? Is trying to have sex with and usually succeeding with every female you meet respecting women? Is keeping your nine year old son waiting in the car for hours on cold nights while you’re having sex with these women being a good father?
Bunny Munro is a door-to-door skin cream salesman, so you can imagine the possibilities in Bunny’s never-ending quest to seduce women. In a way, this book reminds me of the late 1970s, that wide open disco era when just about anything went. To trace the novel’s origins even farther back, I suppose you could say Bunny Munro is the Tom Jones (the hero of the novel, not the singer) of today. Today the only people still living this wild sexy life are probably mostly rock stars. And guess what? Nick Cave, the author, is a rock star from Australia. I was not familiar with Nick Cave’s music before, but lately have been listening to and enjoying his album Nocturama. Cave has also co-composed the soundtrack to the new movie “The Road”.

One of the main characters of this novel is Bunny Junior, Bunny’s nine year old son. There are hints here of the Cute Kid Syndrome that plagues so many novels, but Bunny is not above using Bunny Junior as a prop for his seductions. Fortunately for the novel’s sake, Bunny Junior does not redeem Bunny Munro as a character. Bunny Munro is unredeemable.

The writing in this novel is clear and always held my interest. I don’t think the story that is here warrants such a long book (278 pages). Some of Bunny’s seduction scenes begin to feel repetitive.

While I was reading this book, early on an ending for the story was very clearly telegraphed. I was eagerly waiting for the novel to turn in this direction. However the novel never did turn this way, and the disappointing ending that is here feels lame and tacked on. One of the main recurring characters of the novel, the horned red devil serial killer with the trident, is wasted. I wish I could have talked to Nick Cave before he completed this novel, so he could have changed the story to have the strong ending to which it was naturally headed.

As far as Nick Cave’s music goes, this year I have several Nick Cave albums on my Christmas wish list.
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3 responses to this post.

  1. He’s a fascinating man actually … though despite being an Aussie I’m not what I’d say well-versed on his music but do like some of his stuff. Have you seen the Leonard Cohen “I’m your man” documentary. He appears on that doing a Cohen cover. He also does a Carpenters cover on the compilation album “If I were a Carpenter”. I’m really looking forward to The road, I have to say, as I loved the book and reckon it could make a really stylish movie. What I also have to say is that I haven’t read this book – but I did read kimbofo’s review. Here it is in case you are interested: http://kimbofo.typepad.com/readingmatters/2009/08/the-death-of-bunny-munro-by-nick-cave.html

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    • Hi,
      I had read Kimbofo’s review before, that’s where I got the idea to read this book. But I didn’t realize how good her review was until I re-read it now. It captures the book perfectly in all its crude and snaky charm. I have not seen the Cohen “I’m Your Man” documentary, but it sounds like something I’d really like. I like good music just as much as I like good fiction.

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  2. Ah good … glad you’d seen it. Check out the I’m your man doco. I borrowed it but I plan to buy it as it’s excellent. I had the fortune of seeing him (Cohen) live earlier this year. An amazing night.

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