A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Lunatic Cafe’ chapter three


Anita spends this chapter doing her very favourite thing – complaining about trivial crap because she hates everything.

People leave before the end of the show. They give it a standing ovation. Apparently every show gets a standing ovation. Guys and Dolls is sexist. Richard and her arrived in different cars.

Why are you so full of hate, Anita? I mean, this is like my level of hatred and without the sarcasm or the whimsy.

Richard, it turns out, is a huge fan of musicals. Anita, unsurprisingly, has issues with them because they don’t reflect reality. What, don’t people burst into choreographed song and dance in front of you on a regular basis? Must be just me then.

“That happy-ever-after shit is fine on stage, but it doesn’t have a lot to do with my life.”

I feel angst is coming on. Better batten down the hatches.

“Happy ever after is just a lie, Richard, and has been since I was eight.”

“Your mother’s death,” he said.

I just looked at him. I was twenty-four years old and the pain of that first loss was still raw. You could deal with it, endure it, but never escape it. Never truly believe in the great, good place. Never truly believe that the bad thing wasn’t going to come swooping down and take it all away.

Look, I don’t wish to be dismissive about the nature of grief in this matter. I have lost people, yes, but both my parents are still alive. However, I know people who have lost parental figures young (and I really don’t wish to be any more specific than that – I’ll be open about my own issues, but those of people close to me are closed doors) and I can safely say that they have not given up belief in happiness or good things happening to them. The nature of Anita’s grief appears very dramatic and frankly, rather unrealistic. She has a loving, if unnamed father, and was not abused or hurt in any way. She should not be thinking like some traumatised victim of horrendous torture, thinking that happiness is but fleeting.

Of course, grief and loss affects us all in different ways. Perhaps drama works for her, I don’t know.

Someone laughed, a low chuckle that brushed the skin like fingertips. Only one person had that nearly touchable laugh – Jean-Claude. I turned, and there he was, standing in the middle of the aisle. I hadn’t heard him come. Hadn’t sensed any movement. He was just there like magic.

Should have known it was that arsehole laughing at someone’s pain. I hate that guy.

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4 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Lunatic Cafe’ chapter three

  1. “and I can safely say that they have given up belief in happiness or good things happening to them.” I think you mean that they have NOT give it up, perhaps? 😉 And yes, it comes off as unrealistic and melodramatic to me too.

  2. “What, don’t people burst into choreographed song and dance in front of you on a regular basis?”

    Only once. I had a theory that it was a demon, a dancing demon, but no, something wasn’t really right there.

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