Intelligent zaniness along the lines of Patrick Dewitt’s last novel, The Sisters Brothers is hard to come by, so always appreciated. With more than a few shades of The Grand Budapest Hotel, Undermajordomo Minor delivers eccentricities and cleverness to spare, while retaining true heart, well, at its heart. It’s a quick and entertaining adventure through the Carpathian mountains.
This is a strange book. 17 year old Lucien (Lucy) Minor, compulsive liar and village mollycoddle, leaves home to take a post in the far away Castle Von Aux. Oddness and adventure ensues. Charming and occasionally absurd Undermajordomo Minor is an amalgamation of bildungsroman, fable, adventure tale, and comedy of manners. There is something very Edward Gorey about this one, others have compared it to Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel and I totally get that too. Lively prose and laugh out loud dialogue throughout.
“With dry and witty dialogue worthy of a Monty Python movie, this wonderful novel takes some getting used to, but once you fall into this world you will not want to come back out. A remote castle, a crazy Baron, an incredibly incompetent cook, and a lovely village girl -- what else could the young narrator Lucien, known as Lucy, need for a good story? Of course, the fact that he's a compulsive liar makes things more interesting, too. Dewitt, the author of The Sisters Brothers, once again crafts an unusual and wholly entertaining story that is sure to surprise and delight his growing legion of fans.”
— Dana Schulz (W), Snowbound Books, Marquette, MI
From the bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Sisters Brothers, comes a brilliant and boisterous novel that reimagines the folk tale.
A love story, an adventure story, a fable without a moral, and an ink-black comedy of manners, Undermajordomo Minor is Patrick deWitt's long-awaited follow-up to the internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel The Sisters Brothers.
Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the bucolic hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, Lucy is a compulsive liar, a sickly weakling in a town famous for producing brutish giants. Then Lucy accepts employment assisting the Majordomo of the remote, foreboding Castle Von Aux.
While tending to his new post as Undermajordomo, Lucy soon discovers the place harbors many dark secrets, not least of which is the whereabouts of the castle's master, Baron Von Aux. He also encounters the colorful people of the local village--thieves, madmen, aristocrats, and Klara, a delicate beauty whose love he must compete for with the exceptionally handsome soldier, Adolphus. Thus begins a tale of polite theft, bitter heartbreak, domestic mystery, and cold-blooded murder in which every aspect of human behavior is laid bare for our hero to observe.
Undermajordomo Minor is an adventure, a mystery, and a searing portrayal of rural Alpine bad behavior, but above all it is a love story and Lucy must be careful, for love is a violent thing.