Little Hands Clapping by Dan Rhodes is pretty much what you’d expect from this fantastic cover: strange and funny.
This starts with the setting, a suicide museum in Germany. It is actually supposed to be a museum that wants to dissuade unhappy people from committing suicide but does not succeeds in this at all! And so the old man, the museum’s guard, has to get up early every so often to call the doctor and take care of a body. The doctor’s way of taking care of the bodies involves a giant freezer!
The second story revolves around Mauro and Magdalena the two most beautiful children of a small village in Portugal. It seems quite natural to everyone that they were meant for each other, and they seem to think so, too, until they move to the city to study and things change. You can imagine how these two stories might connect.
This isn’t a novel that is very strong plot-wise, what could have been shocking twists are instead revealed pretty soon and without much flourish, which makes them all the more disturbing somehow. Despite all the horror that is going on in this novel, it’s really about love and human relationships. Magdalena’s story was very engaging and I also found that although these characters are created as bizarre and often whimsical, there’s something very touching and heart-warming about them.
I’m wondering what it says about me that in novel that features incest, necrophilia, cannibalism and suicides, what disturbed me most was the eating of spiders. Yuck! But then I read Roald Dahl’s twisted tales for adults when I was about eleven, it’s hard to be disturbed by anything else after that. Also, Rhodes is funny (you know, in a creepy and twisted sort of way)!
Have you reviewed this book? Let me know and I’ll add a link!