Book recommendation: Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore

I don’t know why humorous books about gods appeal to me so much. I’m not a religious person, and I don’t have much interest in learning about the different religions themselves, but I do like learning about the different mythologies and legends behind the religions. I think that, maybe, a humorous story about a god is just a way for me to get to know that god through the eyes of someone else.

I’ve read a few different novels that fall into this sort of genre – American Gods by Neil Gaiman and Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez are the two that instantly come to mind. But I know that there are so many more out there, just waiting for me to discover them.

Coyote Blue was one. I spotted on the shelf in a bookstore here in town, and the summary itself made me curious. I’ve never read much about ancient Native American gods before, so the I liked the idea of reading about Coyote. And the icing on the cake was that the novel was written by Christopher Moore – an author whose work I’ve read and enjoyed in the past.

After leaving his home in Montana as a boy, Samson Hunts Alone (or Samuel Hunter, as he comes to be known) learned how to blend in with the people around him. He can change his personality to suit just about any situation – a talent that has resulted in a fairly successful life. But this successful life is thrown into a tailspin when he meets Calliope – a beautiful young woman- and the ancient trickster god Coyote.

From there, Coyote Blue takes its readers on a journey as Sam reevaluates his life. It has plenty of funny moments, as well as some bits of romance and drama. It’s a fairly light read, but not one that I would call “fluff.”

My favourite aspect of the novel was Coyote’s characterization. When we first meet him, he comes across as a cocky, sex-hungry ball of chaos. But as the novel progresses, we learn that he may not be as in tune with the world as he seems to think he is. He’s still cocky and sex-hungry, of course, but in a slightly more child-like way than what was first assumed.

To be honest, I don’t know how close or how far this characterization is from the original stories about Coyote, so I can’t say if this is an accurate portrayal or an exaggerated one. But I do know that I enjoyed it, and so I’m likely to pick up another novel that features the same character – even if it’s just to see if he would be portrayed in a different way.

Goodreads summary

From Christopher Moore, author of Fluke, comes a quirky, irreverent novel of love, myth, metaphysics, outlaw biking, angst, and outrageous redemption.

As a boy growing up in Montana, he was Samson Hunts Alone — until a deadly misunderstanding with the law forced him to flee the Crow reservation at age fifteen. Today he is Samuel Hunter, a successful Santa Barbara insurance salesman with a Mercedes, a condo, and a hollow, invented life. Then one day, shortly after his thirty-fifth birthday, destiny offers him the dangerous gift of love — in the exquisite form of Calliope Kincaid — and a curse in the unheralded appearance of an ancient Indian god by the name of Coyote. Coyote, the trickster, has arrived to transform tranquility into chaos, to reawaken the mystical storyteller within Sam . . . and to seriously screw up his existence in the process.

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