Nostalgia is a funny thing. It can color our interpretation of things and is often difficult to divorce oneself from. Such is the case with Robin Hobb’s latest series opener Fool’s Assassin. Focusing on the retired life of FitzChivalry Farseer, now Tom Badgerlock, it shows him dealing with a primarily sedentary life. He watches his wife age past him, his own aging slowed by the magic healing that saved his life, and finds himself suddenly beset by unexpected child late in life. The story plays very much like a bildungsroman except instead of a youth maturing into adulthood it is an older man learning how to be a father.
I first encountered Nicholas Kaufmann’s fiction reading Chasing the Dragon a wonderful novella put out by the fine folks over at Chizine; it’s a wonderful little fantasy allegory about addiction that I highly highly recommend. When I spotted Kaufmann’s latest series of novels about a man who refuses to stay dead I pounced on them and devoured them wholesale back-to-back. Starting with Dying is My Business Kaufmann introduces readers to Trent. Trent works for Brooklyn crime boss doing odd jobs, particularly retrieving odd valuable objects. He has no memory of who he was beyond waking up in an alley several months ago. It turns out that Trent doesn’t stay dead. Every time Trent does die he wakes up minutes later healed of every wound and the person nearest to him sucked of all life. Dying is My Business lays out these details nicely opening with Trent waking up from one of these deaths. It’s a nice little in-media-res opening and Kaufmann does a great job of hooking you in the beginning then quickly outlining the, admittedly scant, details of Trent’s life.