cover image When It’s a Jar

When It’s a Jar

Tom Holt. Orbit, $15 trade paper (450p) ISBN 978-1-84149-782-2

Maurice Katz is content to be a perfectly ordinary fellow, but after a chance meeting with three strange knitters on the London Underground, his life becomes inordinately full of dragons to be slain, best friends to be rescued, strange men in bottles, and reality-shifting pastries. Often witty and mostly lighthearted, this comically surreal mash-up of mythology and multiverse theory is consistently entertaining. Holt (Doughnut) has a humorously self-deprecating narrative style and he includes many hilariously spot-on depictions of British embarrassment, but setting Katz up as the ultimate nonhero requires exhaustive exploration of how dithery and useless he is, and the resolution of his convoluted story leaves too many questions to feel properly satisfying. (Dec.)