The Stupidest Angel
A heartwarming tale of Christmas terror
December 15, 2005
On the twelfth day of Christmas, Chris Moore gave to me 12 stupendous moments…
The Stupidest Angel is a great Christmas novel. Death is funny—especially when it happens to someone else. And what better venue for disaster than a Christmas novel?
One dude is a jerk jock hoping for heroism and the other a real(tor) A-hole, a contemptible homo sapiens no-thinking chimpanzee would call human. Bottom line: a tale by Moore sucks in the reader like a 275-page bottomlessly hilarious black hole.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, Moore gave to me 11 gripping chapters…
Times two, that is. Yes, there are 22 chapters, but you try finding 11 of something in this book.
On the tenth day of Christmas, Moore gave to me 10 recurring nutjobs…
Any writer of fiction finds it difficult convincing readers of the "reality" of a story—a word weaver's conundrum. Pine Cove is such a chaotic, crazy world many have little trouble believing it. But for those who require further verification, many characters here have appeared in Moore's previous novels, a paradoxical form of verisimilitude that apparently comforts many readers. Me included.
On the ninth day of Christmas, Moore gave to me nine broken windows…
Okay, I don't really know the number but there must have been at least nine after the deadly zombie assault on Church of the Lonesome Christmas Potluck.
On the eighth day of Christmas, Moore gave to me eight hungry zombies…
What's Christmas without zombies? The festive dead have been raised by Raziel, the eponymous stupidest angel, whose first Christmas miracle has gone horribly awry due to his horrifically miniscule intellect, a chocological obsession with candy, and the unexpected and wholly accidental murder of Santa Claus.
On the seventh day of Christmas, Moore gave to me seven other novels…
Two I love are Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (for sentimental reasons) and Fluke, a novel of whales, thrumming submarine ooze and much more—and it's set on Maui. I recommend both highly.
On the sixth day of Christmas, Moore gave to me six hearts a-breaking…
Ah, the holidays! Hearts soar or swell or smash. To para-paraphrase Mr. Neil Young, Some get laid, some get tossed, sooner or later, it all seems real. Walk on.
On the fifth day of Christmas, Moore gave to me five swift kicks…
…from the Warrior Babe of the Outland: "A stunning incarnation of insanity, Molly Michon remains one of Moore's most fully realized characters," said the English professor. To whom we sing, "Wipe the board of worthless chalk dust, blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH, blah, blah, BLAH, BLAH."
On the fourth day of Christmas, Moore gave to me four charming words…
"Hosed for the Holidays" a.k.a. Chapter 3, is one of my favorite chapter titles in the whole, wide world. Short, sweet, and simple, this one says it all.
On the third day of Christmas, Moore gave to me three caveats…
This book is sub-titled "Version 2.0." According to Moore's spectacularly loopy and informative website, he writes three caveats: 1) "It's the same book"; 2) "I've written a 32 page bonus chapter"; and 3) "the cover is red." I read version one and have no cash for 2.0, so if I miss one chapter, sue me. There's no reason 2005 couldn't get any worse.
On the second day of Christmas, Moore gave to me two author's warnings…
Moore deflects involuntary, convulsive reader-retching by noting the book contains "tasteful depictions of cannibalism and people in their 40's having sex."
On the first day of Christmas, Moore gave to me a fruit bat in a pine tree.
Some of you may remember Roberto from Island of the Sequined Love Nun. But in my solitary quest to read all of Moore's novels in reverse compositional order, I have not yet fondled her pages.
After a jaunt forward for an Angel, the Nun is next on my list. Like a zombie in a Santa suit, Xmas relentlessly approaches. Hint, hint.
Eric Paul Shaffer is author of five books, including Portable Planet and Living at the Monastery, Working in the Kitchen. He received the 2002 Elliot Cades Award for Literature, a local literary prize, and he teaches at the Maui Language Institute. His latest book of poetry is Lahaina Noon. MTW
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