Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet).


If you like a bit of weirdness in your reading, a bit of fable for fun, look no further than Undermajordomo Minor. It caught me by surprise, in a good way. Here’s the blurb:

Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the bucolic hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, he is a compulsive liar and a melancholy weakling. When Lucy accepts employment assisting the majordomo of the remote, forbidding castle of the Baron Von Aux he meets thieves, madmen, aristocrats, and a puppy. He also meets Klara, a delicate beauty who is, unfortunately, already involved with an exceptionally handsome partisan soldier. Thus begins a tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery and cold-blooded murder in which every aspect of human behaviour is laid bare for our hero to observe. Lucy must stay safe, and protect his puppy, because someone or something is roaming the corridors of the castle late at night.

I laughed my way through Man Booker shortlisted author of The Sisters Brothers Patrick De Witt’s latest novel Undermajordomo Minor. The dialog, which was funny in its matter-of-fact, quaint politeness, the circumstances,  which were absurdly dark, and the overall delivery, which was surprising, captivating and even disturbing, made for a book I couldn’t put down. It’s one of those books that’s hard to describe – it’s an adventure, a mystery, a dark fairytale, a comedy and a love story all in one. It’s strange, surprising and sweet and sour all at once … and it leaves a lingering taste of a book well savoured.

‘You have annoyed me mildly. It is abating as we speak.’ Mr Olderglough looked out the window, and back. ‘Has anyone ever told you you possess a likability?’

‘Not that I can recall, sir, no.’

‘You possess a likability.’

‘I’m happy to hear as much.’

Blue Eyes read this book before me – a man of few superlatives, he said it was weird, but enjoyable.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $27.99AUD). My copy was courtesy of Allen & Unwin.




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