The Yggyssey: Pinkwater takes on The Odyssey

Earlier this week, I reviewed Daniel Pinkwater's wonderful homage to the Illiad, the Neddiad, and now I've had the distinct pleasure of reading the sequel, The Yggyssey: How Iggy Wondered What Happened to All the Ghosts, Found Out Where They Went, and Went There, a tribute to (what else?) The Odyssey. The Yggyssey picks up a few years after the world-shaking final battle that concludes Neddiad, and switches POVs to Yggdrasil Birnbaum ("Iggy" for short), the tomboyish female lead of the Neddiad, daughter of the famed cowboy Captain Buffalo Birnbaum, a retired silent film-star.

Iggy discovers that the ghosts that habitually haunt the Hollywood residential hotel she lives in (along with Neddie and many of the other delightful Neddiad cast) are vanishing. Abandoning her semi-boyfriend (a bebop-obsessed thug who is the world's only hipster capable of drumming Beethoven symphonies), she recruits her friends for an adventure to the Underworld, where they seek to discover the mystery of the disappearing ghosts (first, though, they plan their adventure in a giant stucco theme-restaurant with "an indoor rainstorm every twenty minutes, you don't have to pay for your meal if you don't want to, and there are life-size dioramas of scenes from the life of Jesus in the basement").

Whereupon they contend with the normal Pinkwaterian array of society girl bullfighters, trained ducks named Lucifer, the ghosts of Ben Franklin, Jesse James, Eng and Chang, Lassie, John Philip Sousa (and others), fresh corn muffins, policemen shaped like giant Labrador retreivers, extreme urban free-climbing, allegorical twenty-first century New York City mayors, evil eel-sharks, hippies called Woovy Groovy, Wholewheatflower, Pop Daddy (and others), a shaman who reluctantly agrees to spoil the allegorical misery they undergo by telling them how to shake off a witch's curse ("You realize by accepting this easy expedient you're taking all the depth out of the whole story"), and talking bird Elvis impersonators (among others).

In other words, this is your typical Pinkwater novel: screamingly funny, unbelievably weird, and fantastically awesome.

The Yggyssey: How Iggy Wondered What Happened to All the Ghosts, Found Out Where They Went, and Went There