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Munmun based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Think Borrowers for the 21st century, think Honey I Shrunk the Kids, think Downsizing, think Gulliver's Travels and you might get a vague flavour of this highly original novel from Jesse Andrews. You can enjoy it on a simple level as a tale of trying to succeed when the odds are stacked against you or you can delve a little deeper and see the work as a satirical and quite savage indictment of the age we live in. Andrews has created a whole dystopian landscape with the city of Lossy Indica in the Yewess where size is proportionate to wealth, i.e. the smaller you are the poorer you are. However it is possible to scale up with the acquisition of more wealth - munmun. Warner and his sister Prayer are Littlepoors who feel their only hope of a safer, securer future is to scale up. But they need……munmun. Warner is the main protagonist, a complex character and it is through him that our knowledge and understanding of the fantasy landscape is furthered. There is Dreamworld and Lifeanddeathworld. And what goes on in both is pretty mind boggling!! There are parallels with our own contemporary world though which makes the story pretty chilling at times. Whilst the author and the setting are American and many of the references are culturally and socially applicable to that nation there are many universal observances here that can resonate with an international audience. It is an inventive and witty book. Andrews has created a unique vernacular by spelling out acronyms and fusing words together, creating verbs from nouns - US becomes Yewess, byanychance, backyarding! Genius! and I haven’t used the best ones as examples for I would consider that to be a spoiler! And then there’s the title itself! But if you love words and word play this aspect of the book will appeal. I suspect this may be a Marmite book. I can kind of get that it will too much for some people and I’ve already seen some reviews that are calling it ‘weird’. But those who stick with it and allow themselves and their imaginations to become enveloped by this world will delight in the unusual story and the perceptive observations of our current society that are given an almost cartoon like or caricatured visual word treatment. I loved it! But then I’m weird!!
This is a peculiar tale, the blurb describes it as warm and funny but that isn't what I took from it. Don't get me wrong I did enjoy it but for me it was rather dystopian and downright chilling in places - maybe I was overthinking things and putting a far more literary bent on it than was intended by the author. For me this was more than just the face-of-it tale but it was about the barely hidden parallels to modern society and constantly whilst reading those would jump out at me so I was unable to seperate them from the tale. Munmun takes place in a world similar to ours but with some striking differences. On the whole your size denotes your net worth, your wealth and the whole process of how that is figured out is quite daunting and it is explained to us in a manageable way. Our main protagonist is Warner, littlepoor, rat sized Warner with a dead father and a crippled mother and an annoying sister, Prayer. The tale centres around their adventures as Prayer moves to Sand Dreamough (accompanied by Warner and his best friend stuttering, limping Usher) to besiege the Middlerich bastion of learning and snare a husband that can scale her up. Not the best plan but it is all they have. What follows is a treatise on how life seems to be, how your place in the world determines the treatment you receive from others and how "bettering yourself" is not as easy as those who already have much, much more than you would have you believe. The story takes place between the rather depressing Lifeanddeathworld and the psychedelic Dreamworld - on the whole, I think I would take Dreamworld if I was Warner. It is definitely an unsettling read and one that I feel sure will creep on to school syllabuses as there is a lot to discuss here and lots of symbolism. Heck, you can even argue about the place names and who the Bigrich are supposed to represent - although that will depend on the times the book is read in and who people perceive to be the uber-wealthy. Normally this is the sort of book that I struggle to complete, finding that all the things I perceive behind the words on the page cause the story to be lost. Somehow this didn't happen here and I found that I was existing in my own parallels of Lifeanddeathworld and Dreamworld where part of me was enjoying Warner's life story and another part was analysing for all it was worth. On the whole an enjoyable story that does make you think - even when you don't want to!