cover image Undermajordomo Minor

Undermajordomo Minor

Patrick deWitt. Ecco, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-228120-3

In his delightful and dark new novel, Booker nominee deWitt brings his amusingly off-kilter vision to a European folk tale. After nearly dying from an illness that claims his father, Lucy Minor, a bored and pompous young man, leaves his fairy tale–like hamlet of Bury to begin a new life as assistant to the majordomo at Castle Von Aux. Just getting there proves to be an adventure: Lucy is beset by thieves, learns of his predecessor’s awful fate, and is relieved of his last coin by Adolphus, an exceptionally handsome soldier fighting a war in the forest. Once at the castle, Lucy befriends the thieves who robbed him, competes with Adolphus for the love of the beguiling Klara, and attempts to restore the Baron Von Aux to sanity. Lucy’s earnest actions only create more trouble when a dinner party descends into grotesque bacchanalia, a lecherous guest loses his teeth, and Adolphus makes a final play for Klara’s heart, driving Lucy to the edge of the Very Large Hole, where he vacillates between killing himself and someone else. DeWitt (The Sisters Brothers) uses familiar tropes to lull the reader into a false sense of grounding, delivering with abundant good humor a fully realized, consistently surprising, and thoroughly amusing tale of longing, love, madness, and mirth. Agent: Peter McGuigan, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.)