The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove (1999)

The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Coveis by Christopher Moore, who seems to be following in the footsteps of the great Tom Robbins.  This novel was fun. But it was also making a comment on the over reliance, in American culture, on anti-depressants.  You get a feeling, while reading it, that maybe Moore was channeling Valley of the Dolls with all of its pills, a.k.a. ‘dolls’, when he was writing it.  He also hits on sexual behavior, from the normal to the utterly absurd and aberrant. 

I think this novel is a good reminder about paying attention to life. Many of the inhabitants of Pine Cove, CA  are sedated, Huxley-soma-style, on medication doled out by their lazy psychiatrist and their sexually deviant pharmacist.  Profit and apathy drive their businesses of pushing pills, until something bad happens. Then all hell breaks loose, and turns out nobody needed the pills in the first place. Well, that part of the narrative isn’t truly tied up by the end, but the reader must assume that the psychiatrist made a major error in putting thousands of people onto Xanax, Prozac, etc.

The centerpiece of the novel was Steve, the enormous mutant sea creature who affects the libido of anyone or anything within a few mile radius of him.  He brings out the primal in everyone. He doesn’t repress like the medication. He doesn’t keep the ego in balance. And I think that’s the point.  But, at the same time, the primal instincts Steve brings out also lead to a lot of death and destruction because Steve literally eats people. 

In a silly way, with a smooth and inviting narrative, Moore was trying to pull off a major moral tale about balance, preconceptions/prejudices/stereotypes, human behavior, and relearning an enjoyment for life.