The Death of Bunny Munro Review
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Maybe you’ve heard of Nick Cave—though, honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t. Singer-songwriter Cave and his band, the Bad Seeds, aren’t exactly mainstream pop darlings. His music is dark and gritty, his lyrics ghoulish and grim and sometimes even grotesque. He’s the Edgar Allan Poe of modern rock. But he’s more than just a musician; he’s a sort of Jack-the-Ripper of all trades: composer, actor, even novelist.

If you’re already familiar with Cave’s work, then you’ll have an idea of what to expect from this delightfully sinister musician/author’s second novel, The Death of Bunny Munro. But, for the uninitiated…well, you could be in for a disturbing surprise.

While door-to-door cosmetics salesman Bunny Munro was in a hotel nearby, having meaningless sex with a waitress named River, his wife, Libby, was hanging herself in their bedroom. He returns home to find his clothes shredded, his awkwardly brainy nine-year-old son, Bunny Junior, stomping on spilled Coco Pops in the hallway, and his dead wife dressed in the same orange nightgown she wore on their honeymoon. And while he has a slight, nagging feeling that it’s somehow his fault, he has no idea how to deal with it. So instead of staying home, where the ghost of his wife lurks around every corner, he packs Bunny Junior into his yellow Punto and hits the road.

Between moisturizer sales pitches and lots (and lots) of dirty, meaningless sex, Bunny’s life spirals downward in destructive oblivion. Meanwhile, his eager young son waits quietly in the car, paying close attention to his fantastic father—so he can grow up to be just like him.

The Death of Bunny Munro is like a nightmare that rips you from sleep in the middle of the night—sometimes hazy and jumbled, sometimes shockingly vivid, sometimes even oddly amusing. And it’s filled with the horrors and downright depravity of Cave’s trademark lyrics. As such, it isn’t an effortless read. It’s dark and heavy—and, as you make your way through, you might feel as though a dark cloud has settled in above your head. In fact, it’s probably healthy to set the book aside from time to time—to do something fun and cheery, just to keep yourself from sinking into the same dark, desperate place that eventually did Bunny’s longsuffering wife in (I suggest a nice trip to the zoo—and be sure to visit the penguins).

It doesn’t help, of course, that its main character is completely unlikeable—a slick and slimy sex addict whose self-centered obsession has torn his family apart, leaving him alone with a strange (but strangely adorable) little boy, about whom he knows absolutely nothing. Still, all he can think about is…well, you get the idea. It’s a tragic story—and one that’s more than slightly seedy. In fact, after you finish reading, it’ll leave you feeling like you need a shower to rinse off the grime.

Lyrically written and performed in an eerie minor key, The Death of Bunny Munro is a smart and unusual novel—a murky look at a playboy who suddenly finds himself in a dangerous decline. It’s an intriguing read—one that Cave’s diehard fans won’t want to miss—but, admittedly, despite Cave’s devilish dark humor, it’s not necessarily an enjoyable one.

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