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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 2 February 2006
The Dance of the Voodoo Handbag, Rankin’s 17th novel, occupies a strange place in his shared universe, as it’s written as a direct sequel to the fantasy autobiographical Sprout Mask Replica, yet for much of the novel Rankin is under the illusion that he is in fact Lazlo Woodbine, the star of They Came And Ate Us. Confused? Well, you needn’t be. Apart from a couple of throwaway references to chaos theory, the events of Sprout Mask Replica have no impact on this second volume of Rankin’s autobiography, and all you really need to know about Woodbine is that he is a hardboiled gumshoe detective genre cliché, limited to only 4 stock sets (his office, a bar for talking a load of old toot, an alleyway, and a rooftop for the climax).
Woodbine rather unbalanced the plot of They Came And Ate Us, but here he adds some great moments of comic relief, as Rankin’s plot slithers uroboricly back and forth. The plot is a good one, with the very macabre tale of the hero being kept for years in a suitcase and fed a bit at a time to a ravenous voodoo handbag colliding with a mindbending idea where the souls of the dead are downloaded into the mind of God via the ultimate computer. There’s also the requisite number of tall tales embedded in the story, and plenty of great laughs (though these diminish as the plot kicks in during the novels second half).
The one downside is the continued presence of Rankin’s poetry which, amazingly, seems to be even more dire than before. It also has one of those tricksy multiple-choice endings, where you’re not entirely sure if Rankin is being very clever, or he just couldn’t think of a decent way to end the book. Still – an inventive, hilarious, horrifying and deranged book – and another winner from Robert Rankin. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 1999
Written under the cathartic influence of a green smokable substance (allegedly), this book is without doubt Robert Rankin's finest work to date.
The Master of Tall Tales tackles Gatesism, the internet, strange and abominable sexual habits in rural communities, insanity, voodoo and talking sprouts with his usual brand of humour. The plot twists, coils and then turns around and eats itself while you watch.
More fun than dynamiting gophers. Top. Really.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 1999
Don't care what the others say. For sheer laughs this was the best non Pooley and O malley so far!
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VINE VOICEon 7 November 2006
If you've never read Rankin before then here's an easy, if not bizarre, novel to start with. It's a standard save the world from the madman affair, except it's from the viewpoint of a deluded schizophrenic, in a world populated by equally odd misfits. What strings this toegther is Rankin's off-the-wall (and at times hilarious) musings on our universe (no subject to large to tackle) and a clever mix of technology and religion (although not in much of a serious way, this is Rankin after all). As you might expect there are a few recurring gags in there, just to ensure conisitency with his other books. It's a clever plotline (for once) and there's no gaping holes that are evident in some of his other stories. It's also not too long, another prevalent problem in a few of his books. This is spot one. Quirky, yet funny. Dark at times, slapstick at others. A book well worth the time.
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on 25 September 2012
I'm a late convert to Robert Rankin - I wasn't convinced by his apparently improvised style and rambling storyline. But then I met Rankin at a couple of conventions over the last couple of years, and I've come to look at his books as an extension of the great man himself.

Dance of the Voodoo Handbag makes some of Rankin's other novels look positively coherent. Robert himself (though often in different personalities including private eye Lazlo Woodbine who's had 158 adventures in just four locations) is trapped in the Necronet, a dreamscape that is part cyberspace, part dreamland, part fictional and possibly... the mind of someone terribly important. Pitted against Rob is Billy Barnes, the world leader and owner of Necrosoft.

Though it's frequently unclear what's going on, Dance of the Voodoo Handbag is never less than a thoroughly entertaining ride.
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on 27 October 1998
Robert Rankin is both prolific and consistent. For the last few years, every year, just in time for Christmas, another novel pops, perfectly formed and attractively packaged from the writing machine that is Rankin.
Admittedly, his readers know what to expect, and they always get it. He rarely surprises, and yet his books never fail to be full of surprises. This time Robert tackles the thorny subjects of cyberspace and Bill gates total world domination enterprises. He does so with his usual mix of hip references, obscure double entendres and mish mash if mysticism and science. And as always with lashings of humour.
If you only read one book this year... you're an illiterate! But make it this one.
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on 19 March 2015
I love this book. It happens to have been the first Rankin book I ever bought and remains one of my favourite books of all time, up there with Douglas Adams. I laughed all the way through, some of the running gags you see the punchlines to miles out, but when they come they're still no less funny. Reading this prompted me to collect the rest of Rankin's work - sadly not all of which is like this. The author can be a little hit and miss but when he hits, like he does with Voodoo Handbag, the results are gloriously, and quite stupendously superb.
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on 18 October 2012
So far I've read about 1/3 of Roberts Books and generally enjoyed all of them. However, I felt that this one is probably my least favourite so far. It tended to jump about and ramble a little too much for my liking. Most of the chapters started with some almost pointless poetry.

It's a shame as the subject matter is quite good overall, but it could have been executed at little better.

It won't however stop me reading more of Roberts works, as I want to read all of his books now they are all availble on the Kindle.
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on 15 September 2012
I've loved Mr Rankin's works for many years, since discovering the Brentford triangle books, so I freely admit this is biased. But it is brilliant, if you like puns, running jokes and serial silliness.

Probably best if you have read some Rankin before, though, otherwise the connection between Barry the sprout and Elvis may be utterly incomprehensible.
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on 30 March 2013
This was my first taste of Robert Rankin. I can't decide if I enjoyed it or not! Completely crazy story, but very clever and it did make me smile in places (mostly on my face!). I would have to try another of his stories to decide who is more mad - him for writing such bizarre tales or, me for reading them?
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