The Death of Bunny Munro, Nick Cave

by Lowen Howard

2009. Novel. Cave is better known for his role as the lead singer of three Australian bands: The Birthday Party, Grinderman, and most notably, The Bad Seeds. He has also begun, over the last decade or so, to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with in the realms of both literature (“And The Ass Saw The Angel“) and script-writing (The Proposition). Rock stars frequently tackle projects in poetry or writing, but rarely without looking ridiculous. Cave is that rare exception.

His latest book, “The Death of Bunny Munro” is a calloused meditation on the destructive appetites of men. Bunny is a traveling salesmen peddling beauty products to lonely middle class women. After having arrived back from yet another adulterous business trip, he finds his wife has taken her life. The story’s morbid adventure begins here as a panic-stricken Bunny decides to take his son Bunny Jr. out on a road trip and show him some tricks of the trade.  Cave, commenting on the protagonist, said in an interview, “…and as you get to the end you realize that this guy is for all his charm, the worst human being on the planet.”

It must be said, Cave captures such a villain thoroughly. Indiscreet glimpses of Bunny’s private thoughts make it fairly clear that such a villain is really only a reflection of every man’s capacity to ruminate on distilled filth. Seven year old Bunny Jr. serves as a heartbreaking depiction of a son’s unconditional trust and admiration for his increasingly unhinged father. The severity with which Cave illustrates his vision of man’s nature reaches torturous levels. Though well written and in some ways profound, I have a hard time bringing to mind anyone to whom I’d recommend this dreary journey.

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