Sunday, February 03, 2008

Coffee & Kung Fu, by Karen Brichoux

(pb; 2003)

From the back cover:

"Twenty-six year old Nicci Bradford doesn't exactly love her job of fixing the grammar in company brochures. She doesn't exactly love living in Boston, or going on awkward dates with men she barely knows. What she does love is Kung Fu movies... especially the ones starring her beloved Jackie Chan. Their timeless and inspired wisdom offers her a philosophy of life. The problem is, she doesn't have much of a life to philosophize about.

"But wisdom isn't the only thing that Jackie Chan has to offer. he's also a pretty good action hero. And when opportunity -- and risk -- present themselves in unexpected ways, it's up to Nicci to follow her hero's example, focus on her goal and strike..."


A thread of melancholy runs through this light-on-the-surface work, which is simultaneously funny and sad. Brichoux's gimmick -- relating Nicci's life to lessons learned from Jackie Chan movies -- is used sparingly, so the novel's underlying emotions are never cheapened; it's the lightness that balances the novel, makes Nicci's moodiness palatable.

Brichoux's writing is good, neither saying too much nor too little, which can be difficult when writing a first novel.

Excellent, funny and a great read -- worth your time.

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