Thursday 2 September 2010

'The Death of Bunny Monroe' - Disco of the Damned

Original Post - Sunday, July 04, 2010

I just read Nick Cave's The Death of Bunny Monroe and thought I'd post a few impressions.

The all encompassing Flannery O'Connor meets Howlin'Wolf Southern Gothic of and the Ass saw the Angel has been removed and replaced by David Mamet doing a seedy rewrite of Muriel Spark with nods to Updike (Bunny and Rabbit having much in common)

However this Rabbit will never be rich, or at rest. He describes himself as the duracell bunny but the batteries are starting to wear out and the acid is leaking all over the place.

With a tired quiff and a tiring line in 'seduction' Bunny's self image as a rampant Lothario and the reality of his seedy and destructive life pull against each other and we find more and more reasons to dislike him as the novel progresses.

Bunny's wife's suicide is the starting point of the novel and the penultimate nail in Bunny's coffin. She leaves signs for Bunny all over the flat pointing to his responsibility for her despair but he hardly notices them.

The other main character is Bunny's son, who is being taught "the trade" by being left abandoned in Bunny's Punto while his Dad tries to sell dreams to women on the edge who can't afford reality. His love for his Dad is truly awful when we see the jeopardy he is placed in and that his dad really only wants to be rid of him.

Inexorably a man in a devil mask and horns moves towards Brighton where he and Bunny have an appointment.

The novel reminds me of going to nightclubs when I was a teenager and watching men with gold rings and out of date suits with sweaty armpits buy cocktails for younger women who took the drinks in a sort of Russian Roulette with their dignity. The reek of aftershave rises so pungently from the pages you almost have to peg your nose.

A vision of hell on earth and one that is sending me back to reread Muriel Spark's masterful Ballad of Peckham Rye where a man with horns is also on the loose.


  1. See Nick Cave read an extract at http://gu.com/p/2999f

  2. Interesting to see your comparison with Spark's The Ballad of Peckham Rye, which I haven't read but know a little about from bits and pieces here and there. Your description of the nightclub reminds me of the disco scene in Marias' All Souls, the one where the narrator sees his boss (Kavanagh) performing those wild dance moves while trying to score with the local ladies. :)

    1. Hearing that anything I wrote reminded anyone of Marias makes it a good day.... The Ballad of Peckham Rye is really good, but then Spark's shopping lists were probably very good.