Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Sheriff of Yrnameer by Michael Rubens

The Sheriff of Yrnameer
by Michael Rubens
(Pantheon, August 2009)

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In a bit of a cheat today (come on, I've got to get outside in the sun!), I'm pasting this review in its entirety from an email I sent to a colleague in the book industry. I read it more or less concurrently with Old Mr. Flood, and it provided an entirely different set of pleasures.

I read The Sheriff of Yrnameer on my lunch break at the bookstore over the course of several weeks. To be honest, I picked it up because I eat lunch in the back room with the galleys, and it had that funny name and a brightly-colored cover. Lucky me that I picked up the one book from the piles likely to keep me enthralled in small doses for so long (and sometimes the lunch break ran long if I was at a particularly exciting bit.)

The Sheriff of Yrnameer reads like The Magnificent Seven as written by Douglas Adams, with Han Solo as the hero. It punches all the right buttons for a space opera / romantic comedy / postmodern sitcom / satire on commercial culture. The recurring gags become like inside
jokes with old friends, and the ending, though I expected it to be enjoyably predictable, was genuinely (and enjoyably) surprising. It also shares with my favorite book of last year, The Gone-Away World, an underlying critique of inter-galactic corporations that is pleasantly affirming to a small indie business owner.

Though I did once or twice rue the wisdom of reading it while eating (some lunches are not made to go with descriptions of insectile bounty hunters), I was thoroughly delighted to make such a discovery: a book both warm-hearted and irreverent, morally high-minded but not above the appeal of the gross-out, silly and sexy and secretly serious all at once. And the author is a Brooklynite -- of course. I can't wait for the paperback (which comes out in August of this year) so I can handsell the heck out of it to everyone who asks "Don't you have any FUNNY books? With a happy ending?"

5 comments:

keiserxol said...

I'm all with you. Great read!

ally said...
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ally said...
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roisinrecommends said...

I hadn't heard of it before I read you blog post - I very much like the sound of " a space opera / romantic comedy / postmodern sitcom / satire on commercial culture" though!

john said...

This was an excellent book, for all the reasons you pointed out. Thanks for spreading the word, I'd like to encourage Michael to write more!