Good afternoon, bookworm, do come in! I’m indoors today doing some much needed dusting of the photographs dotted around the library. I hadn’t realised just how many have been photo-bombed by dragons, cats or piles of books which had sneaked off the shelves and into the background of the shot. Actually, photo-bombing makes me think about a book I’ve recently read called The Awful Truth About The Herbert Quarry Affair by Marco Ocram, have you read it? Here, have a freshly baked plum cupcake and cup of Earl Grey while I tell you all about it.
Firstly, here’s the blurb:
With a jangle of keys, a door opened. Herbert clanked in, his arms locked to his sides, his ankles shackled, his face a Hannibal Lecter mask. He was overjoyed to see me.
“Marco, I’m jailed day and night with murderous thugs who can’t tell Schiller from Shakespeare. I’m desperate for intellectual stimulus—but you’ll do for now.”
TV personality Marco Ocram is the world’s only self-penned character, writing his life in real time as you read it. Marco’s celebrity mentor, Herbert Quarry, grooms him to be the Jackson Pollock of literature, teaching him to splatter words on a page without thought or revision.
Quarry’s plan backfires when imbecilic Marco begins to type his first thought-free book: it’s a murder mystery—and Herbert’s caught red-handed near the butchered body of his lover.
Now Marco must write himself into a crusade to clear his friend’s name. Typing the first words that come into his head, Marco unleashes a phantasmagorical catalogue of twists in his pursuit of justice, writing the world’s fastest-selling book to reveal the awful truth about the Herbert Quarry affair.
Now here’s a little about the author:
Little is known of Marco Ocram’s earliest years. He was adopted at age nine, having been found abandoned in a Detroit shopping mall—a note taped to his anorak said the boy was threatening the sanity of his parents. Re-abandoned in the same mall a year later, with a similar note from his foster parents, he was homed with his current Bronx mom—a woman with no sanity left to threaten.
Ocram first gained public attention through his bold theories about a new fundamental particle—the Tao Muon—which he popularized in a best-selling book—The Tao Muon. He was introduced to the controversial literary theorist, Herbert Quarry, who coached Ocram in a radical new approach to fiction, in which the author must write without thinking—a technique to which Ocram was naturally suited. His crime memoir, The Awful Truth about the Herbert Quarry Affair, became the fastest selling book of all time, and made him a household name. It was translated into every known language—and at least three unknown ones—and made into an Oscar-winning film, a Pulitzer-winning play, a Tony-winning musical, and a Golden Joystick-winning computer game.
Ocram excelled at countless sports until a middle-ear problem permanently impaired his balance. He has yet to win a Nobel Prize, but his agent, Barney, has been placing strategic back-handers—announcements from Stockholm are expected soon. Unmarried, in spite of his Bronx mom’s tireless efforts, he still lives near his foster parents in New York.
And here’s my review: I wasn’t sure what to expect with this novel, as I loved Joel Dicker’s The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair and have never read a satire based loosely on another book before. I recently reread Joel Dicker’s novel as a comparison and whilst that could have been a risky manoevre, it made me laugh even more loudly at Marco Ocram’s Herbert Quarry and his misadventures.
The idea of an author inserting himself into the book he’s writing is quite mind-bending at times and it kept me from ever relaxing complacently into the narrative as I never knew where the next hilarious remark, description or literary device would come from. I loved being privy to the author’s thoughts about what a character or situation he was about to introduce the reader to should be like and his handling of Lieutenant Como Galahad had me sniggering to myself many a time.
If this were a film, I would describe it as slapstick comedy and as the author has set out to write a satirical, humourous novel, I have to give it 5 stars because it absolutely works in my opinion. I would highly recommend this book to fans of Jasper Fforde, Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaasen and will definitely look forward to the next one from Marco Ocram!
If you like the sound of this novel, you can click on the book image above to go to the relevant page on Amazon. I don’t receive anything for providing the link, I’m just being a helpful bookworm. A huge thank you to the author, publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for the gifted digital copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.
Well, it’s time for me to return to my dusting. I’ve also heard a few thuds and rustles so I suspect some of the Humour genre may have sneaked off their bookshelves in search of mischief so I’d better go and restore order before they cause mayhem in the Classics. Until next time, bookworm, farewell!