The Last Hiccup by Christopher Meades
In 1930s Russia, Vladimir is a young boy who suddenly starts hiccuping and can't stop. All of the normal cures are tried, including scaring him, but none of them work. Concerned, his mom takes him to a doctor who takes on his case as a personal mission to rid Vlad of hiccups. The attempted cures become more and more drastic but nothing helps poor Vlad, who continues to hiccup every 3.7 seconds. His doctor takes him to a psychologist thinking that perhaps the problem is mental rather than physical and the conversation that Vlad has with this psychologist scares the doctor, who comes to view Vlad as evil.
Vlad is taken away to Mongolia hoping that that region and its people will help cleanse Vlad of his evil.
Having read Meades' previous novel Three Fates of Henrik Normard, I expected a short, quirky novel that was very easy to read and this certainly delivered. This novel has a more muted humour than his previous, but Meades would still throw in something completely off the wall and pass it off as regular which had me chuckling throughout the book.
I didn't really like any of the characters and was never really sure what to make of the character Vlad, whether I liked him or didn't trust him, but that was part of the charm of the story for me. This was a fun, enjoyable read though I think I'd recommend Meades' first book before this one.
First Line: "They first appeared unexpectedly on Vladamir's eighth birthday, following the swift consumption of three bottles of soda."