Blue Burneau

Blue Burneau

by Glyn Maxwell

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Besides winning numerous awards, the author, a young poet, also made the shortlist for the Whitbread Prize for Poetry, an honor repeated this year-this time for his first novel, Blue Burneau. During a viceregal visit to the fictional island territory of Badeo, viceregal bodyguard Maris ``Blue'' Burneau is momentarily distracted and loses track of his charge, a mistake that leads to the viceroy's assassination and a civil war led by the OLB (Organ Liberat Badeon). The prime suspect in the assassination, Burneau drifts from a safe haven provided by Violet Mariscolo (where he falls in love with her young daughter during explanations of the mammothly popular TV adventure series, Carli and the Stranger) to the rebel headquarters, where the OLB takes advantage of his unique synthetic thinking to stuff him with information and wait for the resulting prophetic utterances. It's a surrealistic enterprise, often hilariously funny in the way of Gogol, particularly when Burneau interacts with his two shadows: early on, a mocking conceit called simply ``the death,'' and later, Tragolani, Burneau's own bodyguard who is addicted to an imaginative variation of Scissors-Paper-Stone (``Absence beats Stone. Absence is the end of Stone'' or ``My Eye reads your Paper''). Late in the book, when Burneau's legend has given rise to a saying, ``Blue as Burneau,'' Maxwell writes, ``Some meant `blue' to mean `unhappy', and some meant it to mean `naive.' Some meant it to mean `gone away for ever,' others `beautiful,' and to children it merely felt lucky on the tongue.'' It is an apt description of this sweetly melancholic creation. (Feb.)

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Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group
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