Friday, 28 January 2011

Friday fun - "A Simples Life" by Aleksandr Orlov


“No, is not spelling error…” as the author of this book would no doubt say in his delightful Russian accent. For Aleksandr Orlov is a meerkat with breeding, whose ancestors made it out of the Kalahari Desert to land in Russia after being sold a dodgy boat and a map that promised to take them to Bermuda.

Once landed, Aleksandr’s granddaddy set up a successful business called comparethemeerkat.com, today run by Aleksandr and his faithful sidekick Sergei from a 22-room Russian mansion compete with Grub Pantry, Panic Room, and a genuine Faberge omelette in the (real) vault. (Muse: There’s a fake vault too, with a fake Faberge omelette... didn’t fool a unicorn for a moment, of course.)

With its blend of humour and colour illustrations, this hardcover book should appeal to young and old alike with its cute photographs of meerkats posed in human clothes. It certainly made the Muse chuckle as he read about how Aleksandr’s ancestors battled the evil mongooses led by “Mongis” Khan, and built the family business up from a small shop in the Moscow slums, while muskrats overran the ancestral mansion after Aleksandr’s granddaddy lost it in a hand of cards.

Aleksandr Orlov has a blend of innocence and business-savvy that comes across through his endearing accent and many charming portraits. This is the first book I have ever read written by a meerkat, but don’t let that put you off! It’s well done, and has many nice extras such as maps and plans and mock-ups of movie posters starring Aleksandr’s family in epic productions directed – naturally – by Aleksandr himself. (Muse: Honestly, Greek horses with big heads writing books is bad enough… but Russian meerkats? Whatever next?)

I ordered the print edition of this book after reading an interview with Aleksandr on the Kindle Post, being charmed by his wit and downloading a free sample on my Kindle. Seeing it contained several pictures, I knew this book would not work in e-format and I’m glad I bought the hardcover. Being a reclusive sort of muse who disappears into the enchanted mists when the adverts come on TV, I read it without realizing that the characters are actually part of an advertising campaign for a real business that sounds similar to comparethemeerkat.com. But if you ignore the advertising angle, it’s certainly different and would make a good gift.

Muse: Taken part in the e-book survey yet? Register your vote on the right of this blog!

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