Island of the Sequined Love Nun / Christopher Moore

The subtitle on the cover of “Island of the Sequined Love Nun” proclaims, “A Novel.” Is that another bit of humor from author Christopher Moore, who makes almost every other part of the book funny? Or might someone actually mistake this for a nonfiction treatise about a South Pacific isle on which the natives actually worship the babe-ilicious mascot painted on the nose of a World War II bomber?

Either way, it’s a hugely funny book that’s also surprisingly plausible.

The rouged-bomber, nicknamed the Sky Priestess, made an emergency landing on Atuala, the nearly forgotten slip of land at the northernmost tip of Micronesia. Its pilot, Vincent, feels sorry for the natives, who have just been ravaged by the Japanese, so he finagles food and goods shipments to the island along with a boat to pick up his crew.

Bellies full of Spam, holding their new machetes, makeup and magazines, the islanders look upon Vincent as a God and his bomber, the Sky Priestess, as his symbol.

It’s a naive and beautiful thing, really. And naturally, it’s ripe for exploitation — by a former missionary doctor who now worships money instead of God, and a nurse-turned-stripper who masquerades as the Sky Priestess to a soundtrack of Glenn Miller tunes.

Enter Tucker Case, a corporate pilot who’s good at flying and mediocre, at best, at everything else. He’s not bad-hearted, just lazy, and he rarely makes an effort at anything other than drinking and chasing women.

Eventually, this gets him into trouble and he loses his pilot’s license. Then he gets a mysterious job offer from a doctor on a South Seas island. Sure, it sounds too good to be true, but it’s the path of least resistance, so Tuck takes it.

And it leads, as you might have guessed, to the “Island of the Sequined Love Nun.”

The book isn’t for everyone. It contains some sexual references, although it’s pretty mild stuff. It also includes a fairly graphic depiction of a shark hunt, which the author says is based on traditional methods in the island.

There are hints of the paranormal and fantasy, as well. This is, after all, "A Novel."

Island of the Sequined Love Nun, by Christopher Moore, 1997, Avon Books


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