When Barry (a time-travelling ninja and part-time gardener), sets off on an epic adventure in a bid to unleash his inner ninja and find his missing father, he enters a surreal world where anything can and does happen. With a cast of characters including a talking hedge, a metal-head mother and ghostly samurai warriors, there’s something here for everyone – provided they like their literature with a big spoonful of crazy.
Humour is a personal thing that can be difficult to get right. With a book as weird as this one, I think it’s all down to whether you ‘get’ the tone of it. And let’s be honest, Nicky Blue’s humour is not simply a bit off the beaten track – it’s as far off the beaten track as it’s possible to go. In my case, I judged his writing to be witty, clever and completely absurd, with the author standing on the side-lines throwing in plot curveballs like confetti at every opportunity. While it goes off at a tangent occasionally, the story is easy enough to follow, though it may be more of a challenge for some readers, as it relies quite heavily on the English sense of the ridiculous. There’s a nice Pythonesque edge to it that’s also reminiscent of Terry Pratchett, and Mr Blue leaves no stone unturned in his search of silliness.
Warning: contains absurdist ideas that may lead to laughing out loud.