Sunday, 3 May 2009

Jim Dodge - Fup- a modern fable (Canongate 2009)

'Fup' is a modern-day fable (though written a while ago so not so-modern for its reprint with effortlessly modern Canongate) by professional loner and gambler Jim Dodge, a remote tale of farmship and the strained love between grandpappy and grandson, between whisky and eternity, between a shotgun and a silent vicious boar, and a hard-drinking fussy duck called Fup. Short and peppered with the kinda language that'd turn your tongue purple, the book is a sleepy take on strangers in their own family all believing too much in the healing power of different vices. Grandpa Jake sips 'Ol Death Whisper' a whisky reciped by ancient Indians supposed to bestow eternal life on its imbiber. Tiny, his grandson, builds fences as an emotional crux to keep the bad dreams at bay, and to keep the bad people away and to focus his orphaned mind against the elements. One day they meet Fup, a duck who manages to change their lives and bring them closer together, but not before it nearly drinks up all their reserves of Ol Death Whisper. It's a funny little book, dark and light and full of quips and mediations on remote country life in the heart of America's south. Featuring newly commissioned artwork from Emma Dibben and featuring a feel-good all-star cast of weirdos and freaks, this is a heart-warming tal dipped in whisky and set fire to.

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