Book Review: Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu

Some of my favorite things in this book: hurricane in a skirt (Miss Acacia), the pet hamster (whose name is Cunnilingus),  bottled tears (yes, tears), and a delightful cameo by England’s very own serial killer Jack the Ripper.  There is very little NOT to love of concerning this book by Mathias Malzieu.  I read a translation of it, because my French is not the best any more.

In this book, Jack, the boy with the cuckoo-clock heart, is now dependent upon the clock installed in his chest, keeping him alive.  His heart is fragile, and too many strong emotions will weaken and ultimately break his fragile heart.  Love and anger are the chief of these that will destroy the fragile mechanical device that keeps him alive.  Yet, despite the pleas of the woman who installed the mechanical heart, Jack travels from Edinburgh to Andalusia in search of Miss Acacia.

Gorgeous and grotesque, this book is filled with delightfully lush, fruity, and sugar-adorned images tend to leave one hungering for more of his pretty words.  The adoration that Jack has for Miss Acacia is something right out of your favorite fairy-tale, it is so perfect, and almost in that regard uninteresting, however this fact is made up for by the motley crew of supporting characters make up for it.

The twinkling 19th century Andalusian circus, the laboratories filled with tiny bottles, the ghost train decorated with bones freshly pulled from the catacombs are all things that I adored experiencing with Jack on his journeys.

This book is definitely right up the alley of Tim Burton fans with its mixture of frightening and romantic imagery.   Definitely a good read.

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