Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Coyote Blue - Christopher Moore

1994; 294 pages. New Author? : No. Genre : Fiction; Humor. Overall Rating : 8½*/10.
Years ago, Native American Sam Hunter was forced to flee the Crow reservation to avoid being arrested for murder. Happily, he is quite comfortable living as a successful salesman in Los Angeles. That is, until the trickster god, Coyote, (think "Loki") shows up to "help" Sam. And with help like Coyote's, who needs any troubles?
What's To Like...
This is an early Christopher Moore novel. The humor is a bit less zany than in his two Vampire books, bit there is still a plethora of warm chuckles.
The book gives you a taste of life on the reservation, without getting all Sally Struthers melodramatic about it. There are some kewl mytholology references, and a bunch of insightful tangents (such as garage sale shoppers who won't take 'No' for an answer) that will make you laugh.
As with most Moore books, Coyote Blue is, at its core, a love story. Calliope Kincaid is a scatter-brained flower child who has a kid she loves, a biker ex, and has dabbled in just about every religion under the sun. A perfect match for an insurance salesman.
Kewl New Words (and Phrases)...
Bindle : slang for a folded piece of paper that contains illegal (usually powdered) drugs. Counting coup : winning prestige on the battlefield by acts of defiant bravery in the face of the enemy. Forty-Nine Party : a gathering at which 49 tribal songs are played to honor veterans.
Calliope Kincaid waited on the steps of the Tangerine Tree Café thinking about the past lives of lizards. A small, brown alligator lizard was sunning himself on the planter box by the steps and his lidless eyes, glazed but seeing, reminded Calliope of a picture of Jimi Hendrix that her mother had kept next to the bed when she was growing up. She wondered if this lizard could be an incarnation of Jimi, and what he must feel like living in the planter box in front of a café, eating bugs and hiding, after being a rock star. (pg. 49. it turns out the lizard was actually Jim Morrison in a previous life).
"We can do this," he said. "We'll get him back."
"I know," she said.
"You do?"
She nodded, wiping oatmeal off her chin with a napkin. "That's the scary thing about hope," she said. "If you let it go too long it turns into faith." (pg. 235)
"We're going to Billings first, to get something."
"It's depressing. You won't like it. There's a big cliff in Billings that was a buffalo jump, but our people never drove the herds over it. The buffalo used to go up to the edge and say, 'Oh, no, it's Billings', then they'd just jump over out of depression. Nope, you don't want to go to Billings." (pg. 259. there really is a big cliff overlooking Billings.)
Gabriella, Gabriella,
As fair as salmonella. (pg. 21)
I enjoyed Coyote Blue. The writing is excellent; the characters are well-developed and likeable; amd the storyline is well thought-out. There are some great similes scattered throughout ("he was using the road like a buttered harlot - he was all over the place while trying to stay in the middle..."); and Minty Fresh, whom I met in (the later) A Dirty Job, makes his debut here. 8½ Stars.

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