This months Book Club book is Death and The Penguin. I have seen this around before, and considered buying it, but didn’t do so until now:
Viktor is an aspiring writer with only Misha, his pet penguin, for company. Although he would prefer to write short stories, he earns a living composing obituaries for a newspaper. He longs to see his work published, yet the subjects of his obituaries continue to cling to life. But when he opens the newspaper to see his work in print for the first time, his pride swiftly turns to terror. He and Misha have been drawn into a trap from which there appears to be no escape.
The book starts very quickly, with little to no build up in terms of the characters introduction: Viktor lives alone with his pet penguin, and gains a job out of nowhere, writing obituaries for a newspaper for stable income.
Sooner or later, Viktor makes friends with various people who all seem to know more about Viktor’s new role than he does.
The book is very well written with amazing prose breaking up the dialogue. Viktor is very reflective throughout, seemingly dragged from his quiet life into a dangerous one, with a child to look after who is indifferent to him, and woman who is forcing herself as an almost ‘wife’ that he didn’t want.
His situation is sad, and yet a lot of the story is humorous. The penguin seems to get more respect than himself, and he soon finds that he is invited to certain events only is the penguin is there too, later the facade being dropped, and only the penguin being invited at all.
It is a short read, and the ending quite abrupt and ambiguous. Perhaps I will need to read the sequel. This was one of those books where, though not a lot seems to happen, you become engrossed regardless.