This guy named Niels Saunders

Two things lured me into reading the complete works  – that’s three books so far – of Mr. Niels Saunders: One, a friend gushing over them (and she’s usually not one to gush), two, a brief, curious look at his Goodreads profile, which showed the picture of a punky, rather British looking guy with a pineapple in his arms. Yeah, right. Why would someone carry a pineapple in his arms? I had to find out. Now I know, and somehow wish I didn’t, because, frankly speaking, it’s one of those once-seen-never-unseen thingies of life. Whatever, if you want to find out, you need to read…

Mervyn vs. Dennis

…which is a pretty brilliant book. Guy needs job, guy gets job offer by weird, racist twat, guy doesn’t know what to do, but for various reasons ends up accepting the job. Mervyn’s crazy, actually abusive relationship with his new boss Dennis somehow revolves around the question how Hitler’s Germany came into being – in his own turnabout way, the author actually answers that question in the end – and develops among different angles, some comical, some sinister, some simply shocking, until disgust turns into pity and you’re left questioning just about everything. And once you’re finished with that, you can move on to…

Grand Theft Octo

…which somehow manages to be an even better book than Mervyn vs. Dennis (which is why you should read them in that order). Guy gets kicked out of his job for stealing too much office equipment and decides to become, more or less, the world’s most successful conman. Only he tries it along rather unusual avenues. Like taxidermy, for instance. In the end, he settles on octopus teasing. Thing is, nothing I could say could possibly do this book justice. I went into it expecting some wild, funny, incredible tale. I got that, but the story quickly evolved into something way more complex, and ultimately darker than dark. It’s hilarious, heart-breaking, intellectual, devastating, scary, all in one. Read it, and keep the details in mind, because you’ll stumble across some of them in…

The Papyrus Empire

…which is the first in a series, I’ve been told, so there’s more yet to come. The basic idea of this book is as brilliant as it is simple – guy gets some money from a cash machine, only the money he gets isn’t the currency he’s used to, but some notes that look like monopoly money. Just for fun he tries to pay with it at some point, with the most amazing results, and step by step, he gets drawn into the sinister world of some sort of secret brotherhood, a world running parallel to our own, full of wonders and dangers, the world of Sigmund Papyrus, the greatest man who never lived. It’s as exceptionally well written as the other two books, and Mr. Saunders employs an uncanny knack of giving you all the cruelty and bloodshed without dwelling too much on the gory details. Every death has a meaning or purpose, there’s no wanton, liberal madness like in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Eventually there came a point though, where I couldn’t quite understand the MC’s motivation anymore, which took a bit of the overall sense of meaningfulness away, nevertheless, the book is a wild ride and highly recommended.

There, you should have enough to read now for at least a few days. I’ll be back then with something more easily digestible.

About angelikarust

My name is Angelika Rust. I was born in Vienna in 1977. These days, I live in Germany, with my husband, two children, a despotic couple of cats and a hyperactive dog. After having tried almost every possible job from pizza delivery girl to HR consultant, I now make a living knowing English. No, I haven’t yet figured out what I want to be when I grow up, whenever that may be. In the meantime, I write the occasional book.
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