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Undermajordomo Minor Hardcover – Sep 5 2015

4.0 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: House of Anansi Press (Sept. 5 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770894144
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770894143
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.8 x 28.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 717 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

An electrifying adventure, both tender and profane. Nervy, hilarious, and utterly unpredictable, Patrick deWitt has served up another dazzler. (Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette? 2015-03-23)

Undermajordomo Minor wears a fairy-tale cloak, but at its wondrous and fantastical heart lies an unexpectedly moving story about love, home, and the difficulty of finding one’s place in the world. Elegant, beautifully strange, and utterly superb. (Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven 2015-04-06)

Patrick deWitt has an untrammelled and utterly original imagination. I cannot think of anyone else who could pull off so beautifully this controlled explosion of drollery, mischief , sly fun, and tenderness. (Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others 2015-04-27)

Undermajordomo Minor is a wonderfully wry and wise novel, and reading it is like coming across some twisted classic ― Cervantes by way of Louis C.K. I marvel at all that Patrick deWitt is able to do on the page. (Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins 2015-06-24)

Undermajordomo Minor is brutal, brilliant, sly, absurd, and poignant. It's both gripping tale and hilarious subversion. Once again Patrick deWitt proves his wild, original talent, generous wit, and exquisite control. (Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask 2015-06-25)

In his delightful and dark new novel, Booker nominee deWitt brings his amusingly off-kilter vision to a European folk tale . . . DeWitt uses familiar tropes to lull the reader into a false sense of grounding, delivering with abundant good humor a fully realized, consistently surprising, and thoroughly amusing tale of longing, love, madness, and mirth. (Publishers Weekly 2015-08-01)

... eerily precise ... DeWitt is a true original, conjuring up dark and hilarious images. This is a bizarre, darkly funny, passionate ... book. (The Times 2015-08-22)

with its blend of fantasy and gothic romance, Undermajordomo Minor sounded unlikely to enchant a literalist like me. How wrong I was. From its pitch-perfect opening onwards, it's clear from the unusual atmosphere and droll narration that deWitt has created a unique fictional universe….The challenge for the reader is to resist the temptation to devour a novel which should be savoured. (Max Liu The Independent 2015-08-27)

Fans of The Sisters Brothers will rejoice at the return of deWitt’s wry, funny dialogue and over-the-top, almost slapstick violence. (Sue Carter Metro 2015-09-02)

Undermajordomo Minor is a masterpiece of wit. (Danny Gorny Toronto Is Awesome 2015-08-24)

Undermajordomo Minor is deWitt playing to his dry wit, black humour strengths, but with a structure that skips along, delivering quiet mirth and repressed laughter in the face of absurdity we all feel in the attempt to start a new life. (Samantha Power Vue Weekly 2015-09-03)

Lies can be wonderful things, and when a lie is told artfully, if it’s done with a degree of craftsmanship, I can’t help but admire the liar. (David Berry Patrick deWitt quoted in National Post interview 2015-09-05)

there’s no denying…deWitt’s whimsicality and unfettered inventiveness…If designed as an entertaining showcase of dazzling creativity, deWitt’s pipe dream of a novel can’t be faulted. (Brett Josef Grubisic Vancouver Sun 2015-09-04)

But the ceaseless, sparkling wit and originality of his latest…proves the indomitable deWitt can’t be undone by a few trophies; in fact by delving deeper into the absurd, he arguably takes bigger risk. (Emily Donaldson Toronto Star 2015-09-06)

Undermajordomo Minor creates its own earthy kind of magic....it's a wonderful novel that is sure to capture the imagination of many readers and awards committees. (John Lyttle Winnipeg Free Press 2015-09-05)

in terms of entertainment, deWitt is a master. (Greg Hudson SHARP Magazine 2015-09-07)

a darkly funny twist on the traditional fable. (Miranda Newman Walrus Magazine 2015-09-08)

a mashup of a Wes Anderson movie and Grimm's Fairy Tale. (Josh Visser VICE 2015-09-08)

every reader should be able to find something to enjoy in Undermajordomo Minor whether it is the writing, the mystery, or the crazy characters you encounter along the way. (Kaley Stewart Niagara Life Magazine 2015-08-28)

[Undermajordomo Minor] is vintage deWitt..Droll, beguiling and slightly wistful. (Mark Medley Globe and Mail 2015-09-12)

Page by page, the book is often a hoot, brimming with winningly quirky characters operating by their own twisted fairy-tale logic. (Michael Bourne Globe and Mail 2015-09-12)

By turns whimsical and macabre, fanciful and sinister…it is a journey of self-knowledge and self-realization, complete with sinister twists and menacing turns. It is a mythic journey from darkness to light, during which the hero accepts his fate and becomes the man he was destined to be. Moreover, it is a darn good read. (Rob Reid Waterloo Region Record 2015-09-12)

Undermajordomo Minor is an audacious fairy tale in the form of a novel. Or an outlandish novel as a fairy tale. Doesn’t matter. It’s a bold, genre-twisting narrative, worthy of a read. (Thomas Trofimuk The Winnipeg Review 2015-09-15)

…a darkly funny fable. (Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson Winnipeg Free Press 2015-09-17)

From the Back Cover

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.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Whereas "The Sisters Brothers" was a really excellent effort, this one was really quite weak in comparison. I found the plot thin and even the attempts at black comedy lacking. It won't be on my list of recommendations.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My son read The Sisters Brothers as part of his university English course work, and Patrick DeWitt came to the university to talk to the students. I bought him this novel for Christmas. My son says Undermajordomo Minor is a black-comedy sort of novel, and he enjoyed it very much.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Patrick DeWitt is a great writer of witty stories. Like The Sisters Brothers, the very title illustrates and original mind. You start to laugh even before you open to the first page. The cast of characters is wild and everyone takes part in the crazy goings on. I was going to send a copy to my 13 year old granddaughter but when I got into the party of the aristocrats, the Baroness showing an egregious lack of restraint in her participation, it became regrettably obvious that this was a fantasy for adults only. Four stars our of five because nobody's perfect, even Patrick deWitt.
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By sean s. TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 22 2015
Format: Paperback
Undermajordomo Minor is not only the story of Lucien (Lucy) Minor, but also of the bizarre and fascinating characters who inhabit his world. At the age of 17 he goes to work in the castle of a mysterious baron, as an “undermajordomo”. The oneiric adventures that ensue remind one of both Kafka and of Beckett.

Indeed, Patrick DeWitt falls into the category of what philosopher Gilles Deleuze calls “minor literature”, subverting a major language (in this case English) to the point at which it reveals itself as a strange wonder, not re-presentative of anything, but evocative of unconscious affects and conscious emotions. Exhilarating!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A mostly hilarious dark tale told with sardonic humour,some laugh-out-loud scenes, and some cringe worthy ones. His previous book, The Sisters Brothers won the Governor General Literary award, and also dark humour and I enoyed it very much.This book is hard to classify into any one category. Events and dialogue range fron the quaint and silly, to absurd and disgusting. If this is the sort of story you enjoy, you will really like this book. It is definitely odd.

The title refers to a young man, Lucien(Lucy) Minor.At the age of 17 he leaves home with no regrets to travel to a castle owned by a Baron. He is to be employed as a helper to to the majordomo of the castle. He discovers the castle is in a state of disrepair with many empty and dirty rooms. There was once a large staff of servants, but now only the old majordomo remains along with a worker who took the cook's place which results in terrible meals.Very little money remains and Lucy needs to walk to the market to haggle for produce. He soon discovers his salary is not forthcoming, and he is ordered the huge job of cleaning the many rooms.

There is a mystery about the whereabouts of the Baron. Also what was the fate of the former undermajordomo?

The story takes place in a bizarro time and place. It seems to be set in Europe of several centuries ago There is no electricity or indoor plumbing, but transportation by train exists. Two opposing groups of soldiers are battling in the surrounding mountains for no apparent reason. How does a very large, deep hole nearby fit into the story?
Lucy is a likable character, but with no ambition, a coward, a sickly weakling and a compulsive liar. He rather likes the idea of being subservient as he then can follow orders and know what chores to perform.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can see how the author's style might not be for everyone. It's different. However, I liked this book even better than his last one. This book has some humor and hope to help balance with the darkness/gloom. I loved every page and couldn't put it down. When I first started, I thought I would have trouble reading the book as I wouldn't be able to empathize with the main character but he did a truly great job of making it possible! A unique book that I think is written by a truly gifted author. The plot is not the key to this book but it does provide action to keep things moving. A definite must read. Another example of extremely gifted Canadian authors!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Delightfully weird and joyful in the mundanity of depravity. The best kind of fable. Very different from the Sisters Brothers, but a lovely book that i would recommend to all who love idiosyncratic characters and meandering non heroes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent.

Unique, entertaining and immersed in a world that is similar to ones that have been written about before... yet which is unlike any other.

Some incredible passages of writing - the swimming escape scene remains vividly in my mind months after finishing the book. Highly reccomended.
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