The Good Cemetery Guide
What can you say about a book about an undertaker who moonlights as a guitarist in a bar? That it’s a surprisingly enjoyable read, that’s what.
We picked it up secondhand in Hermanus, when we were beginning to run out of the books we had taken on holiday and then left at most of the places we stayed, releading them into the wild on BookCrossin. The copy we bought was even autographed by the author, and was itself a BooCrossing book of sorts, as it had a list in the back of people who had read it, and what they thought of it — three gave it 1, and could not get into it, not liking reading about coffins. Two found it an enjoyable read, and said it wasn’t all about coffins. They gave it a 3+
It is set in Kalk Bay on the Cape Peninsula, and we had passed through there a couple of times in the week before we bought it, so the setting was fresh in our minds.
But it is also well written, and the characters stand out, even though seen almost entirely through the eyes of the protagonist. It’s also got a little bit of everything, sadness and happiness, joy and sorrow, romance, intrigue, humour. It is difficult to think of other books to compare it with, the onl;y one that comes to mind is [nook:Harold and Maud].
There are a couple of jarring notes, little details that don’t ring true, like referring to the Beatles as coming from Manchester, but generally the plot is believable.
I don’t know how easy it would be to get a copy now — this is the only one I’ve ever seen for sale — but if you do see one, buy it. It’s worth reading.