Well, no, actually, it's not unless your version of Christmas includes shovel-wielding murderesses, stoned officers of the law, one half-witted agent of The Lord, a flock of undead zombies fed up with the living, and oh, don't forget the illustrious reemergence of Roberto The Fruit Bat.
It's not a hallucination. It is the return of America's favorite chronicler of absurdity, Christopher Moore, with his eighth book, The Stupidest Angel. You could be forgiven for thinking Chris has knocked off a quickie at 275 pages. Thankfully, he's packed more laughs, more energy and more weirdness into his book than anything I've seen all year - and I have a lot of free time. And cable.
It would have been a hot time for him to cash in, too. In one of the more bizarre literary events of the year, Moore's peculiar-cum-Seussian fish novel Fluke got anointed as a Today Show book club pick selected by Nicholas Sparks, no less. Fans got to see the self-proclaimed "Author Guy" stumbling through an interview with Ann Curry. Surely he would now surrender to the pressures of mainstream success?
Chris said with his first book, Practical Demonkeeping, he wanted to do for the horror novel what the brilliantly belated Douglas Adams had done for science fiction in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Surprisingly, even as he accomplished that goal, he has gone on to bigger and better things. His other rock star works include Bloodsucking Fiends, a hysterically funny vampire novel that should beget a sequel next year, Love Sucks, as well as my dead-favorite comedic novel of all time, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal.
What you'll find is that The Stupidest Angel is the biggest and best Christmas card ever conceived. It's a gift to anybody who has picked up and read any Christopher Moore book and it is a real sweetheart for those of us who have read all of them, starring a half-dozen characters from all the books you hated to see end.
The sleepy village of Pine Cove, California is strongly based on Moore's old stomping grounds near Big Sur and is home to the denizens from The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove and Practical Demonkeeping. So here we go for plot. Try to keep up.
Meanwhile, seven-year-old Joshua Barker is devastated after seeing Santa bit the big one after a smack in the skull and promptly fires off a prayer. Coming to Josh's rescue, kind of, is everybody's favorite heavenly moron, the angel Raziel, who monitored Biff's progress in Lamb between soap operas and requests to The Lord to become Spider-Man. Raziel promptly botches the whole raising-a-guy-from-the-dead thing and raises everybody in the Santa Rosa cemetery.
Still with me? It's a nice lead-in to a short excerpt:
"Merry Christmas, you doomed sons' a bitches!" said Santa.
No, really. For people like me, it's a Christmas card. As far as I'm concerned, all Christmas cards can have reanimated cannibal zombies from now on. It might not be for the faint of heart but for anyone who still has a sense of humor after everything we've been through in the past month, it might just be the perfect cure.