Island of the Sequined Love Nun

Island of the Sequined Love Nun

4.1 127
by Christopher Moore

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Take a wonderfully crazed excursion into the demented heart of a tropical paradise—a world of cargo cults, cannibals, mad scientists, ninjas, and talking fruit bats. Our bumbling hero is Tucker Case, a hopeless geek trapped in a cool guy's body, who makes a living as a pilot for the Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation. But when he demolishes his boss's pink plane

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Take a wonderfully crazed excursion into the demented heart of a tropical paradise—a world of cargo cults, cannibals, mad scientists, ninjas, and talking fruit bats. Our bumbling hero is Tucker Case, a hopeless geek trapped in a cool guy's body, who makes a living as a pilot for the Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation. But when he demolishes his boss's pink plane during a drunken airborne liaison, Tuck must run for his life from Mary Jean's goons. Now there's only one employment opportunity left for him: piloting shady secret missions for an unscrupulous medical missionary and a sexy blond high priestess on the remotest of Micronesian hells. Here is a brazen, ingenious, irreverent, and wickedly funny novel from a modern master of the outrageous.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A screwup pilot goes to Micronesia to fly a couple of organ thieves bankrolled by the Japanese in Moore's (Coyote Blue; Bloodsucking Fiends) tiresomely goofy fourth novel. The premise is as complex as it is outlandish: Tucker "Tuck" Case runs afoul of his firebrand boss, cosmetics magnate Mary Jean (read Mary Kay) Dobbins when, loaded on gin-and-tonics and in flagrante with a hooker, he crashes the company Gulfstream (and in the process wounds himself la Jake Barnes). Fleeing a civil suit, Tuck takes a job with a "missionary" couple on a tiny Micronesian island where the natives worship the memory of an American WWII bomber pilot who once visited their island in his plane, The Sky Priestess, and founded a "cargo cult" revolving around American products. The corrupt missionaries, Dr. Sebastian Curtis and his wife, Beth, have taken over the cultwith Beth in the role of the High Priestessin order to maintain a healthy population of unwitting organ donors. Aided by a transvestite Filipino navigator and a talking bat, Tuck overcomes his need to fly (and his infatuation with Beth) to rescue the natives from their exploitative Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz. Moore relies for his comic effects on lamentably old-fashioned types (the ignorant native, the cheesecake sexpot)though, for some reason, he mentions the weight of his female characters more often than their measurements). Despite Moore's indisputable talent for wisecracks and his over-the-top 1940s-style musical-comedy panache, this island fantasylost somewhere in the neighborhood of Vonnegut, Robbins and Douglas Adamsis too complacent for satire and too silly to turn its jokiness into page-turning entertainment. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Here's a recipe for one very funny book: Take Tucker Case, a disgraced airline pilot whose unseemly in-flight behavior has destroyed his career (along with a pink Lear jet) and damaged what's politely called his manhood. Add Kimi, a Filipino transvestite navigator, and a talking fruit bat named Roberto and send the three off in a typhoon to an island in Micronesia (its inhabitants only a generation away from cannibalism) where dastardly deeds are being done by a greedy medical missionary and his beautiful but amoral wife. Toss in a dead World War II aviator who plays cards in heaven with a Jewish carpenter. Stir well. Read fast. Fans of Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams will especially enjoy Moore's (Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story, LJ 8/95) peculiar take on the world. Recommended for general fiction collections.Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Kirkus Reviews
Another farce about feckless mortals exploited by sarcastic supernaturals—all for a good cause—from Moore (Bloodsucking Fiends, 1995, etc.).

Corporate jet pilot Tucker Case, "a geek in a cool guy's body," gets into trouble when, after downing seven gin-and-tonics, he agrees to take a prostitute on a quick trip to the stratosphere for some "mile-high" cockpit sex, only to lose control of the jet while making his final approach. A strange flight-suited fellow appears in the copilot's seat, helps Tuck (and his passenger) survive the crash, and vanishes. Case wakes up in a hospital bed to find himself a tabloid celebrity, and unemployed. The hapless Case gets a job offer from Dr. Sebastian Curtis, a missionary physician who wants Case to pilot his island-hopping jet, currently based on the fictional Micronesian island of Alualu. During an error-prone odyssey across the Pacific, Case meets a variety of chatty, smart-alecky island denizens, including a transvestite navigator with a pet bat who takes him over shark-infested waters in an open scow right into a typhoon. Case washes up half dead on Alualu to find that its primitive, former cannibal inhabitants, who call themselves the Shark People, have been enslaved by a silly cargo cult involving Dr. Curtis and his trashy sexpot wife (the sequined love nun of the title), who are selling the organs of Shark People sacrificed to the Sky Priestess to a Japanese firm. His ghostly copilot returns, revealing himself to be a divinity (more or less), and charges Case with saving the Shark People, which he does with ingenuity and hilarious, if graceless, aplomb.

A lightweight traipse on the gross side of paradise, packed with sick jokes, intentionally hokey dialogue, shameless parodies of Hamlet, the bibical book of Exodus, organized religion, and WW II flyboy movies. The best yet from Moore.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Harper Perennial Series
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Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.92(w) x 5.16(h) x 0.76(d)

Read an Excerpt

Island of the Sequined Love Nun

Chapter One

Tucker Case awoke to find himself hanging from a breadfruit tree by a coconut fiber rope. He was suspended facedown about six feet above the sand in some sort of harness, his hands and feet tied together in front of him. He lifted his head and strained to look around. He could see a white sand beach fringed with coconut palms, a coconut husk fire, a palm frond hut, a path of white coral gravel that led into a jungle. Completing the panorama was the grinning brown face of an ancient native.

The native reached up with a clawlike hand and pinched Tucker's cheek.

Tucker screamed.

"Yum," the native said.

"Who are you?" Tucker asked. "Where am I? Where's the navigator?"

The native just grinned. His eyes were yellow, his hair a wild tangle of curl and bird feathers, and his teeth were black and had been filed to points. He looked like a potbellied skeleton upholstered in distressed leather. Puckered pink scars decorated his skin; a series of small scars on his chest described the shape of a shark. His only clothing was a loincloth woven from some sort of plant fiber. Tucked in the waist cord was a vicious-looking bush knife. The native patted Tucker's cheek with an ashy callused palm, then turned and walked away, leaving him hanging.

"Wait!" Tucker shouted. "Let me down. I have money. I can pay you.

The native ambled down the path without looking back. Tucker struggled against the harness, but only managed to put himself into a slow spin. As he turned, he caught sight of the navigator, hanging unconscious a few feet away.

"Hey, you alive?"

The navigator didn't stir, but Tuckercould see that he was breathing. "Hey, Kimi, wake up!" Still no reaction.

He strained against the rope around his wrists, but the bonds only seemed to tighten. After a few minutes, he gave up, exhausted. He rested and looked around for something to give this bizarre scene some meaning. Why had the native hung them in a tree?

He caught movement in his peripheral vision and turned to see a large brown crab struggling at the end of a string tied to a nearby branch. There was his answer: They were hung in the tree, like the crab, to keep them fresh until they were ready to be eaten.

Tucker shuddered, imagining the native ' s black teeth closing on his shin. He tried to focus on a way to escape before the native returned, but his mind kept diving into a sea of regrets and second guesses, looking for the exact place where the world had turned on him and put him in the cannibal tree.

Like most of the big missteps he had taken in his life, it had started in a bar.

The Seattle Airport Holiday Inn lounge was all hunter green, brass rails, and oak veneer. Remove the bar and it looked like Macy's men's department. It was one in the morning and the bartender, a stout, middle-aged Hispanic woman, was polishing glasses and waiting for her last three customers to leave so she could go home. At the end of a bar a young woman in a short skirt and too much makeup sat alone. Tucker Case sat next to a businessman several stools down.

"Lemmings," the businessman said.

"Lemmings?" asked Tucker.

They were drunk. The businessman was heavy, in his late fifties, and wore a charcoal gray suit. Broken veins glowed on his nose and cheeks.

"Most people are lemmings," the businessman continued. "That's why they fail. They behave like suicidal rodents."

"But you're a higher level of rodent?" Tucker Case said with a smart-ass grin. He was thirty, just under six foot, with neatly trimmed blond hair and blue eyes. He wore navy slacks, sneakers' and a white shirt with blue-and-gold epaulets. His captain's hat sat on the bar next to a gin and tonic. He was more interested in the girl at the end of the bar than in the businessman's conversation, but he didn't know how to move without being obvious.

"No, but I've kept my lemming behavior limited to my personal relationships. Three wives." The businessman waved a swizzle stick under Tucker's nose. "Success in America doesn't require any special talent or any kind of extra effort. You just have to be consistent and not fuck up. That's how most people fail. They can't stand the pressure of getting what they want, so when they see that they are getting close, they engineer some sort of fuckup to undermine their success."

The lemming litany was making Tucker uncomfortable. He'd been on a roll for the last four years, going from bartending to flying corporate jets. He said, "Maybe some people just don't know what they want. Maybe they only look like lemmings.

"Everyone knows what they want. You know what you want, don't you?"

"Sure, I know," Tucker said. What he wanted right now was to get out of this conversation and get to know the girl at the end of the bar before closing time. She'd been staring at him for five minutes.

"What?" The businessman wanted an answer. He waited.

"I just want to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm happy."

The businessman shook his head. "I'm sorry, son, but I don't buy it. You're going over the cliff with the rest of the lemmings."

"You should be a motivational speaker," Tuck said, his attention drawn by the girl, who was getting up, putting money on the bar, picking up her cigarettes, and putting them into her purse.

She said, "I know what I want."

Island of the Sequined Love Nun. Copyright © by Christopher Moore. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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What People are saying about this

Tim Cahill
This laugh a minute rollercoaster of a book is almost impossible to describe. If it were a movie, it might be billed something like this: Indiana Jones played by Groucho Marx, screenplay by Edgar Allen Poe, based on a story by Robert Ludlum and Stephen King.

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