Up Jumps the Devil book review

By imh No comments

My thoughts on Up Jumps the Devil are complicated; The story is well written, sometimes beautifully so, with strong, complex characters, and a wonderful mystic/fairytale quality to many of its scenes and descriptions; it is also a mix of a longer narrative interjected with flashbacks and short-stories about the devil’s interactions with famous historical figures Forrest Gump style. Some of these interactions are very enjoyable, others more of just alright. The main narrative, where the devil exchanges his services for the souls of three humans, vacillates between compelling to very depressing, with one of the characters nearly overdosing on drugs, then progressing into perpetual plastic surgery adjustments, Fish is just largely unlikeable (intentionally so), and the final character (the one whole likeable and benign individual) eventually resolves to fight the devil, a fight he cannot hope to possibly win. It does not help that their goals are extremely pedestrian (although they make sense for the characters) wealth, fame, and changing the world, which results in the narrative progressing further and further from the elements of the story I found compelling and interesting as they achieve their goals and begin to live their lives with them: namely the more mystical elements associated with the devil.
There’s some comedy in the book, but nothing that really worked for me, amounting to mostly a few scenes of slight amusement.

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