I receive lots of email pitches from publishers and authors asking if I’m able to review their books. Most are dull and uninspiring, so I was pleasantly surprised when I read the synopsis for Bad Karma. Perhaps it was because I’d had a glass or two of wine before reading the message, but I found myself crying with laughter. I read the email to the relatives I had staying at the time and they all ended up laughing too (although maybe they were laughing at me?!) I instantly accepted the review request and went on to do a bit of research about the author. I discovered that David Safier is a successful German screenwriter, having won many awards including an Emmy. This book became a best seller in Germany, selling 850,000 copies.
Bad Karma is a funny, but thought provoking book about discovering the important things in life. Kim, the central character, is crushed to death by debris from a Russian space station and due to the fact that she mistreated her staff, ignored her daughter and cheated on her husband she is reincarnated as an ant:
Krttx glared after the. ‘Stupid males!’ she snarled. ‘They’re totally useless!’
That, I reflected, was a remark you often heard from human females.
‘The only thing they can do is mate with the Queen.’ Krttx growled.
That, I reflected, was a remark you didn’t so often hear from human females.
I stared after the flying ants. I was so inundated with sensory impressions, I didn’t even hear Krttx cussing. Which was unfortunate, because if I had I would have heard her shout: ‘Move, or I’ll bite you in the backside!’
‘OUCH!’ I yelped and lurched into action again.
Kim then goes on to be reincarnated several times – coming back as a guinea pig, a dog and even an earth worm. The animal point of views were realistic and insightful, but also highly amusing. It was great to see everyday human objects described from the the point of view of tiny insects. The only downside is that I now feel a bit bad about spraying “the Great Mist” at them!
Kim slowly realises what a terrible human being she was and makes an effort to become kinder, building up her karma so that she can be reincarnated as as more intelligent animal. It was only while reading this book that I realised how comforting a belief in reincarnation is. I was surprised at how many important issues were raised during the course of such an amusing book.
This has to be one of the most original books I’ve ever read and I really hope that it is able to gain the audience it deserves outside Germany.