Magnificent Bastards

Magnificent Bastards - Rich Hall

I always return to this book (and its predecessor, "Things Snowball") when I need cheering up. If you've ever seen his stand-up you'll recognise the narrative voice of these stories, and it's almost impossible to read them without that growly Montana drawl in your head. These are quirky, cynical, sometimes unexpectedly touching and beautifully structured (and, of course, hilarious) short comic stories. I really hope Rich Hall writes a full-length novel, as his writing is wonderful, his characterisation is spot-on (you really get to know these people, even in such a short space of time), and of course his eye for the absurd and amusing in everyday situations is finely tuned. The prime example of this is how he can take a man standing on a corner holding up a Golf Sale sign and spin it into a remarkably clever self-help book; not only a very funny juxtaposition but probably the most accurate and concise critique of the whole self-help phenomenon ever committed to paper. Read this, and annoy people on the train by laughing out loud. A lot.