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Harry Hop-Pole (The Wispy Gorman Stories) [Paperback]

Wispy Gorman , Staffan Gnosspelius
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.39
Price: £6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

1 Nov 2011
Here, at last, is a genuine comic novel that will appeal to devotees of Beachcomber, The Ascent of Rum Doodle, and the Ealing Comedies. Harry Hop-Pole tells the story of an unlikely sporting hero who enters the Olympics as a Pole-Vaulter.--'They came from every corner of the globe. They came to compete. To see who among them could jump the highest. But only one will emerge victorious. Will it be the reigning champion, the American Jake Cranebilt the one with the beautiful teeth? Will it be the Great Russian Jumping Jinkski who grew up in the freezing wastes of Irkutsk and has very long legs? Or will it be our very own Harry Hop-Pole? From the lower bar of the Dog and Bucket pub to a vast arena with thousands watching, this epic tale tells the story of one man s heroic struggle against listlessness, boredom and the help of friends.

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: acorn book company (1 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956862802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956862808
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 1.5 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,489,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Was nicknamed 'Wispy' on account of being a thin, undernourished child. Seeking work that would bring him close to plentiful supplies of food, he enlisted as a kitchen-boy. But working alongside unstable men with sharp knives took its toll. After hiding in the walk-in deep-freeze long enough to devour an entire chocolate cake, he emerged feeling cold, and slightly sick, his hair as stiff as a brush. Time for somewhere warmer: Spain. He began writing poetry: 'Oh Luna! Luna!' etc. Returning to London he lived in an attic enduring all kinds of hardship and poverty in pursuit of his art.

Product Description

Review

'A tale of vaulting ambition.' - Magnus Mills 'I had a smile on my face the entire time I was reading this.' --New Books Magazine.

'Described as an epic tale that tells the story of one man s heroic struggle against listlessness, boredom, and the help of friends , Harry Hop-Pole is a comic novel, and one that stands out for its subject matter if nothing else. The story follows our protagonist Dick Scabbit, star of the Wispy Gorman Stories, and his friend, the titular Harry (that is, he of the Hop-Pole). After discovering Harry is quite good at jumping over things, Dick Scabbit sets himself on a mission to prepare his friend for the biggest challenge of all the Olympic games. This quest takes him on a strange journey to procure not only the material for a pole, but the means of making a pole capable of competing with the modern apparatus used by the likes of the American Jake Cranebilt and the Great Russian, Jumping Jinski. I ll be honest with you here readers, I m struggling for words with this review. There aren t really that many books that compare with Harry Hop-Pole, and for this reason, I would definitely say it s worth a read. It stands tall as a comic novel that presents something a little bit different to the norm.' --M.J.Ryder

'Olympic Fiction takes humour to new heights in Harry Hop-Pole. For a light-hearted and humorous take on the under-appreciated sport of pole-vaulting, look no further than this lovely little book. A perfect size for fitting in your pocket and reading in sunny spots. Just don't be surprised if you get odd looks from passing strangers as you chuckle away to yourself while enjoying all the eccentric characters that crop up on every page!' --Mr B's (Independent Bookshop of the Year 2008 and 2011)

'Perhaps the finest novel about pole-vaulting ever written.' --Sir Bernard Mikalis

'Olympic Fiction takes humour to new heights in Harry Hop-Pole. For a light-hearted and humorous take on the under-appreciated sport of pole-vaulting, look no further than this lovely little book. A perfect size for fitting in your pocket and reading in sunny spots. Just don't be surprised if you get odd looks from passing strangers as you chuckle away to yourself while enjoying all the eccentric characters that crop up on every page!' --Mr B's (Independent Bookshop of the Year 2008 and 2011) 'Perhaps the finest novel about pole-vaulting ever written.' -- --Sir Bernard Mikalis

About the Author

Harry Hop-Pole is the first in a series of books by Wispy Gorman. The other titles include: Chef of Distinction! The Ray of Truth, and The Finger of Destiny.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The amateur pole vaulter 14 July 2012
By Damaskcat HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Harry Hop-Pole has always been different ever since he was born in record time. He excelled at jumping obstacles which would have defeated a lesser person. Dick Scabbit watches him jump a wall into the middle of a funeral and is amazed. It's not until he's watching television and sees the popularity of an American international pole vaulter that he thinks again about the amazing natural ability of Harry Hop-Pole and wonders how much better he'd be at pole vaulting.

What follows is a story of accidents and bumbling mistakes but it's also about the triumph of the underdog and the comic situations which arise when local people decide to create their own Olympic champion pole vaulter. I enjoyed reading this amusing story and learned far more about pole vaulting than I ever wanted to know or ever thought I would know.

I liked the illustrations and the asides from the book's editor and I enjoyed the characters and the lack of swearing which can be all too prevalent in some comic novels. This is a quick and easy read but if you're looking for something light hearted and vaguely topical then give this a try. It reminded me somewhat of J K Carr's novels and it portrays a similar view of England to that displayed in Colin Watson's Flaxborough novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry Hop-Pole by Wispy Gorman 11 Dec 2011
By ardacos
Format:Paperback
as a historical novel enthusiast I must admit that this memorably entertaining story of humble beginnings & high-vaulting hopes is rather, well, off my viking-beaten track with not a sword in sight, but none the less recommendable for that, being a tapestry of shrewd and subtle observation; intelligent, ironic, and most importantly, funny. Some real belly laughs here, ones I had to put the book down for, all at the expense of the quirks & foibles of human nature at its most humble & down to earth. Buy it if you would enjoy a story pleasant & entertaining, familiar too, mischievously wry and never less than benevolent, Gorman's prose is fresh, direct & draws you along with a mischievous wink, prompting a lasting smile. You know people like the ones you meet here, have rubbed shoulders with them, are at put at ease for an easy & enjoyable read sprinkled with subtly playful yet pertinent allusions to history, echoes of folk-myth even, thru a landscape described as surely as it is clearly felt by the author, with poetic but definitely not flowery sensitivity, acutely.
Feels good, too, sort of old-fashioned & classic with cool charcoal drawings & obviously fictitious background info. Indulge yourself & enjoy! This is what rainy afternoons are for!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry Hot-Pole 22 May 2012
Format:Paperback
I loved it. Charming and quirky. Great for both children and adults. And of course "possibly the greatest book ever written about pole vaulting"!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All books should make people this happy! 1 May 2012
Format:Paperback
I absolutely love this book! It's so beautifully produced and feels like a real treat to read. Plus, it's hilarious! Brilliant, brilliant little find.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book 4 April 2012
Format:Paperback
I found this a very funny book.....very well written, and a great insight into British pub culture and humour. Looking forward to the next in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boys to Entertain You 21 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback
A pole vaulting based comic novel put me in mind of an old Chick Murray gag ("Are you a pole vaulter son?" - "Och, noo - am a German...but hoo did yis ken ma name wis Walter?"). Every page of this sparsely printed, wonderfully illustrated volume is suffused with a warm and quirky humour. Slacker Hop-Pole at first seems to be among that fine tradition of Great British Losers (Withnail & Marwood, Edwards the Eagle, Arsene Wenger...)but be sure not to misunderestimate him. The writing is, dare I say it, poetic (apparently I do dare)- full of lovingly drawn characters and wry observations. Delightful.
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