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The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear: a novel
by Walter Moers
(Secker and Warburg, £17.99, 702 pages, cover scanhardback; 12 October 2000 ISBN 0-436-27500-7.)

To prepare The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear you will need the following ingredients:

5 fl oz of Vonnegut (Kurt)
12 oz of Gilliam (Terry)
13 stone (estimated) of raw German illustrator
A pinch of Jonathan Swift
Some wild imaginings (grated are best)
750 blank pages
1 pen

  1. Take the 13 stones of raw German illustrator and leaven with the wild imaginings.
  2. Allow the mixture to stand for some years until it develops a mind of its own and begins to emit blatant absurdities.
  3. Now add the Vonnegut, Gilliam and Swift and knead thoroughly in a warm environment ensuring that all three ingredients are fully absorbed.
  4. Place the mixture upon a writing desk next to the 750 blank pages, insert the pen between them both and retire to a safe distance.

The resultant 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear should be light, airy and entertaining with many graphical interludes and textual oddities throughout. If the mixture fails to rise properly then you may find it best served with a side order of Magic Realism (or, for the less stern, Child-like Wonder).

WARNING: 750 pages is a large number and even the most dedicated bon viveur may find that digesting the entirety of The 13 Lives of Captain Bluebear becomes something of a chore. It is recommended that for maximum enjoyment The 13½ Lives be eaten one life at a time - perhaps one per evening.

The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear contains some Satire and references to hallucinogenic substances, but carefully chewed is eminently suitable for young and old palates alike.


Review by Stuart Carter.


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© Stuart Carter 18 November 2000