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No Laughing Matter [Hardcover]

Angus Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sep 1967
This is Wilson's most ambitious novel, a saga covering fifty years of the Matthews family. Departs from his earlier realist style, 'mingling parody and dramatization with direct narration in a rich and complex evocation of family politics and neuroses'. A comprehensive and critical , but nonetheless sympathetic, treatment of English cultural assumptions. AUTHBIO: Angus Wilson was one of Britain's most respected twentieth century novelists. His razor-sharp and savagely witty examinations of British manners, characters and social conflicts resonate with a wide readership. He was born in 1913 in Surrey, and went on to work for a variety of organisations including the intelligence services at Bletchley and the British Library before publishing his first book to great acclaim in 1949. He founded the world-famous Creative Writing MA at the University of East Anglia with Malcolm Bradbury in the late 1960s, and became Chair of the Arts Council's Literature Panel and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was also one of Britain's first openly gay writers, tackling the subject in his writing well before the liberalisation laws of 1967. He was knighted for services to literature in 1980.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd; First Edition edition (Sep 1967)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0436575078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0436575075
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 15 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 693,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

One of Britain's most distinguished novelists Sir Angus Wilson was born in 1913. Educated at Westminster and Merton College, Oxford he joined the British Museum as a cataloguer before being called for service in 1941. His literary career began with a collection of short-stories published in 1949. These were followed by other short-story collections, novels and plays. Co-founder with Malcolm Bradbury of the MA programme in creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Wilson was appointed professor in 1967. Chair of many literary panels, including the Booker prize, and campaigner for homosexual equality he was knighted in 1980. He died in 1991. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great novel of the generations 7 Jun 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
How Angus Wilson is not more generally read, these days, baffles me. His books are subtle, complex and intelligent, carrying a number of themes by both conventional and somewhat experimental means. No Laughing Matter, the story of a family as it experiences and interacts with the 20th century, is a masterpiece. Wilson is without doubt an English literary master. The majority of his novels and short stories are of the first rank. They show a deep sympathy with and interest in women. They also show sympathy with a variety of misfits and outcasts. Although the current fashion seems to be for thin plots and facile language, I hope the time will soon come round when substantial novels like this will be read in large numbers. I have read and re-read this particular novel, as I have Late Call and As If By Magic, and it continues to give me enormous pleasure, insight and empathy for people I would not normally identify with. This, it seems to me, is the essence of what novel writing should be about. Perhaps Wilson represents the peak of the modern novel. If so then I think the likes of Amis and Hornby represent an avalanche brought about by a conflict of echoes.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Wilson's best novel 22 Nov 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Apparently Angus Wilson regarded this book as possibly his masterpiece. It is a highly ambitious novel, covering several generations of a bohemian London family and describing both the social and political transformation of England from the beginning of the 20th century pretty much to the end. Wilson used a number of unconventional techniques in the book and it was a break from his earlier realistic method. It achieves its ambition, in my view, giving us a vital, generous and incisive
picture of English society which it might still find a little
uncomfortable. A great, absorbing read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But it raises a smile on occasion 25 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful family saga covering the first half of the 20th century. The aftermath of the war in the 20s, the uncertainty of the 30s with the threat of war looming ever nearer, and the austerity of the 40s are all cleverly caught. The disfunctional Mathews family will remain in my memory a long time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good novel 26 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback
Angus Wilson seems to have dropped out of fashion's sight, which is a great shame, because he has a lot to offer. This is probably his best work - an ambitious portrait of English society, well worth reading.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contents: 15 Mar 2004
By Judy Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A family saga of the Matthews family. We meet the six Matthews children in London in 1912, living with their shabby-genteel, high spirited parents on the fringes of Bohemia; and we are thrown at once into the intense love-hate relationships of a highly charged family situation. Billy Pop, the father is a down-at-heels writer and his wife "Countess" a frustrated actress full of whims, great personal charm, and maddening inconsistencies. The children dream their separate dreams and play mocking games about their elder's absurd pretentions. We follow this family for fifty years thru changing history and the children's own jobs and lives.
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