Don't Point that Thing at Me - Kyril Bonfiglioli

~~Moved from GR~~

Don't Point That Thing At Me

by Kyril Bonfiglioli


It's almost cheering to find a book that contains more black humour and cynicism than I can handle.

Imagine Bertie Wooster's evil twin from a parallel universe. He would be bloated with self-indulgence and degeneracy, a misanthrope entirely free from any sympathy or fellow-feeling for humanity, casually cruel, and deeply cynical. He would be a cheerful, upper-class sociopath. He would probably even have an Evil Goatee (TM). Well, other than the Evil Goatee, meet the Honorable Charlie Mortdecai.

Charlie is a cynical thief who cheerfully despises the rest of humanity. His worldview is the perfect opposite of Bertie's cheerily shallow and idealistic noblesse obligae: each of Charlie's sentence drips with disdain and underlying resentment and hatred for his fellow man and woman. He speaks casually of murder and violence, and his worldview is a combination of epicurean and nihilistic. Charlie is indeed the Anti-Bertie, complete with his brutish manservant Jock, who acts as the Parallel Universe Evil Jeeves.

I couldn't muster any empathy for Charlie; in fact, I spent most of the time shocked and appalled by both his actions and his view of humanity. However, even I could appreciate some of the humour. The book is chock-full of references to other literary works and Charlie is fully aware of his near-Woosterhood, so the book has some truly hilarious shout-outs to P.G. Wodehouse. I've always had difficulty in stories where the protagonist is an unrepentant evildoer, so this book was just over the top for me. The plot itself, black humour absurdism, was just too dark for me. If you enjoy protagonists such as Raffles, Arsenne Lupin, and similar, you may want to give Charlie Mortdecai a try: his story has a similar spirit, albeit rather more jointly humorous and misanthropic.