A man falls madly in love with his goose. He becomes more and more entrenched in this barnyard affair. Finally, after countless intimate encounters between the two, he can keep his forbidden romance a secret no longer. Holding the goose under one arm, he charges into the house, where he points at his wife.
"That's not a pig; it's a goose," says the wife.
"I wasn't talking to you."
This joke and many others -- all equally if not more obscene -- are brought to life in The Book of Jokes, a hilarious and inventive novel by Momus (the Scottish singer-songwriter and artist).
The book creates an alternate world where characters live inside jokes. The plot (if you can call it that) revolves around the Skeleton family, mainly Sebastian (the father) and Peter (the son). The Skeletons live in a glass house, where their bizarre behaviors make them infamous -- perpetually the talk of the town, the butt of all jokes. But Peter learns to stop time and depart from the jokes which are his life, if only for a moment, and he can see around jokes the same way you could see around a cardboard cut-out.
Incest, bestiality, murder, scat, molestation . . . no topic is taboo. So I should say right now: I would not recommend it for anyone who is easily offended or has a weak stomach.
If you have a dark sense of humor, however, you should definitely give this a read. Mind you, it's not simply a compilation of tasteless jokes. Many jokes, like the one paraphrased at the top of this review, are pulled from pop culture, worked, and reworked in various combinations, applied to new situations, brought up again periodically like a recurring gag in a comedic play or film.
Things you will learn when reading The Book of Jokes: