[Review] Unfunny fakirs and racism

bed of nails

Title: The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir who got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe
Author: Romain Puertolas
Source: Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review
Tl;dr: Either not very funny and racist, or giving an often forgotton view and inspirational.

Add it to your goodreads

One day a fakir leaves his small village in India and lands in Paris. A professional con artist, the fakir is on a pilgrimage to IKEA, where he intends to obtain an object he covets above all others: a brand new bed of nails. Without adequate Euros in the pockets of his silk trousers, the fakir is all the same confident that his counterfeit 100-Euro note (printed on one side only) and his usual bag of tricks will suffice. But when a swindled cab driver seeks his murderous revenge, the fakir accidentally embarks on a European tour, fatefully beginning in the wardrobe of the iconic Swedish retailer. – From the Publisher

I’d love this book for it’s story. The man who finds himself in a strange country, finding love, himself, and some perspective on the world on his trip to get what he came for, which might not be what he set out to get. There are societal observations here: how are we dealing with immigrants, with people who are just trying to find a better life in Europe? How are countries doing after the Arab Spring?

But the book is also attempting to be humerous, and completely failing in this, in my opinion. It might be a cultural thing (I’m Dutch, the author is French), but I do not happen to find endless variations of the same joke on the Indian name of the protagonist and his Indian family members very funny. Or the fact he is written as an ignorant backwards person. Or the negative stereotype painted of the Roma taxi-driver and his family. Or the trans-joke somehwere in the beginning. This, together with a writing style that was just slightly inconsistent, bugged me, and made me not enjoy the story as much as I could.

I think I should just give up on “funny” books (except Pratchett). Or does anyone have any recommendations of humerous books that might not bother me?


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