The Last Hiccup by Christopher Meades
Vladimir is celebrating his eighth birthday when he starts hiccuping
and continues and continues. Of course, his mother is very concerned and
when the hiccuping does not stop travels from her small town in Russia
to a bigger one in order to consult with a doctor. This doctor tries
all the tried and true methods of stopping the hiccups to no avail.
Vlad is brought to Moscow by Sergei Namestikov, a famous physician.
Numerous treatments are tried; bizarre, painful and unsuccessful.
Sergei's nemesis and an even more famous doctor, Alexander Afiniganov is
brought in to see Vlad.
Alexander believes that Vlad is the
essence of pure evil and spirits him away from Moscow into the outer
reaches of Mongolia. Vlad grows up comforted by his hiccuping and
returns to Moscow a changed man.
This book is quirky and filled
with dark humour. It is vaguely historical as it is set in 1930s
Russia. I thoroughly enjoyed the read but felt I would have liked to
read a bit more of Vlad's years in Mongolia.
I love the quirkiness of Christopher Meades' works. They really appeal to me. And I loved, loved, loved the ending.
First Line: "They first appeared unexpectedly on Vladimir's eighth Birthday, following the consumption of three bottles of soda."