Saturday, 10 April 2010

A Year in Books 2010 - All My friends are superheroes

In January I thought I may have already read my book of the year, The Half Brother

Well it now has a rival and a more different book you couldn't get. Whereas the Half Brother is a 700+ page epic, "All My Friends are Superheroes" by Andrew Kaufman (definitely not man in the moon Andy Kaufman) is just over 100 pages with lot's of white space!
The best way I can describe the plot is think "Heroes" but rewritten by the "Flight of the Conchords".

All Tom's friends are superheroes, he is even married to one called the "Perfectionist" (she has the power to make everything just perfect). Unfortunately on her wedding day she is hypnotised by an old lover into thinking that Tom is invisible. Thinking he has abandoned here she embarks on a flight to Vancouver not realising that Tom is sat beside her on the plane. He has until touch down to convince her that he is there before she uses her super-powers to leave her sadness behind.
Even that description makes the plot sound more substantial than it actually is. So why is it so good? Well it is brim full of great ideas mainly through introducing a range of other superheroes. We don't get the usual man of steel though. We get "the Stress Bunny" who everyone likes to invite to parties as they absorb everyone's stress. We get "The frog kisser" who can transform geeks into winners, but is cursed as once this happens the origin of her initial attraction is lost forever or "Mr Opportunity" who is simply introduced as - "He knocks on doors and stands there - you'd be surprised how few get opened."
The other reason this is so good , and trying not to get too soppy about it , it is simple and wonderful rejoicing in love.
Quirky with a capital Q if this doesn't leave you with a warm glow and a smile on your face then frankly you have no soul!

You can buy "All My friends are Superheroes" here


  1. Just brought it on the strength of your review (and the cover photo).
    Will let you know.
    Currently reading Colum McCann's 'Songdogs' which is a patchy poetic view of a dysfunctional family. Sounds familiar...
    Listening to Alexis Murdoch's latest after hearing it in 'Away We Go', Sam Mendes' much derided film, which I loved. No blockbuster but a real edgy comedy.
    If you liked 'Sideways' or that one with the camper van, (something about Sunshine) you'll like his.

  2. I like the look of "away we go" (I liked both sideways and sunshine) I've put it on my love film list. currently watching the white ribbon on and off - keep changing my mind whether i like it or not , I think as usual with his films (I can't remember the directors names but he did the excellent hidden) I've a feeling it will be an ambiguous ending.
    Just seen 50 dead men walking which is worth seeing for Ben kingsley do another chameleon performance

  3. Love Ben going bonkers.
    Who'd have thought Ghandi could be so scary...
    White Ribbon? Is that tbe B&W film that won the Oscar?
    Hidden was amazing. The suicide scene will stay with anyone who watches it and the ilm keeps revealing new layers every time i watch it (a bit like the best music/songs).
    Thought it would go to 'Let the Right One In' which was a couple of days too old to qualify...
    Looking forward to watching Rashomon tonight.
    Trev (Anonymous)

  4. I need to resee hidden , I read an interview with the dir that said that the "answer" is teh last few frames of the film, so I'm going to have to rewatch it as i missed this completely (apprarently a reflection or something of who is doing the filming)

  5. I remember kids walking down school steps...
    Apparently some hidden secrets revealed there.
    May well be some clever myth making going on; less is more...
    You should try playing 'Hopeland' backwards...

  6. I already have - apparently it is telling me to start worshiping bernard cribbens

  7. Dang, that should've come out "stop whores tipping Bernard Cribbens'.
    He'll be furious.
    There are worse gods...

  8. Just dropped on my door mat.
    Opening a bottle and reclining...
    Will let you know.
    PS: Have you read the new Paul Auster 'Invisible'?

  9. Hi Trev
    not yet - is it in paperback yet, I've not seen it about (I've got this anal thing of pnly buying fiction in pb)

  10. Paperbacked and lovely...

  11. Just read 'All of my friends...' this morning. It took me 4 cups of coffee..
    Loved it; funny, sad and kind of beautiful. I love it when books gush towards that final page...
    It will make a great (though short) film...
    Just re-watched 'Smoke' last night, Harvey Kietell (sp?) scripted by Auster and don't you know it. Tender, funny, a little wonky (wrong key) in places. Loved it!

  12. hi Trev

    I remember seeing Smoke when it came out and thought it was a great film

  13. Thank you very much for the recommendation. I gave this book to my wife as a birthday present and she absolutely loved it. It was surprisingly insightful, funny, and moving.

  14. Hi CS

    only 9 months late responding ! - glad your wife liked it. He has written a coupl eof others that sound just as quirky!


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