The Happiest People in the World

Brock Clarke. Algonquin, $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-61620-111-1
The latest from Clarke (Exley) is a whiz-bang spy satire bundled in an edgy tale of redemption. Impulsive cartoonist Jens Baedrup leaves his wife and home in Denmark with the help of love-lorn CIA spy Locs (aka Lorraine). The reason: an impressionable and lonely immigrant takes offense at Jens's drawing of Muhammed with a bomb in his turban, hovering above the "happiest people in the world... frowning inexpertly." And so begins clueless cultural criminal and eternal optimist Jens's transformation into Henry Larsen, a Broomeville, N.Y., high school guidance counselor. Henry woos Ellen, a heartbroken bar owner. Meanwhile, Locs is futilely and obsessively in love with Ellen's husband, Matty, a school principal. These mismatches ultimately set off a violent chain reaction of discovery and revenge. As Henry's world comes undone, the identities of his unlikely protectors are revealed in a hilarious series of bloody blunders. The bizarre moose-eye view opening to this culture-clash horror tale expertly sets the tone for what's to come. Clarke dazzles with a dizzying study in extremes, cruising at warp speed between bleak and optimistic, laugh-out-loud funny and unbearable sadness. His comedy of errors is impossible to put down. Agent: Elizabeth Sheinkman, WME Entertainment. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/08/2014
Release date: 11/01/2014
Open Ebook - 250 pages - 978-1-61620-429-7
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-61620-479-2
Open Ebook - 70 pages - 978-1-61620-515-7
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-8740-9
Compact Disc - 495 pages - 978-1-62231-512-3
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