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58
4.1 out of 5 stars
The Hippopotamus
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2007
I can only describe the twists and turns that this book takes as shocking. Not hit you in the face shocking, but enough to make me hitch my breath as I travelled out of London on the train.

Fry is simply delicious in his writing style - clever, sharp and descriptive only to the point of necessity.

Not as outlandish and fiesty as the Star's Tennis Balls, but certainly a pleasant (if bizarre) surprise.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2000
discovering all his books at once, i had a marathon few days digesting them all as thoroughly as possible, not wanting any to finish, but barely able to wait to start the next. this is characteristic of fry with his superb intelligence and wit and brilliant ability to hold us all to constant attention with such wonderful story telling skills, and bizarre imagination. just braw. loved it.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2005
I usually don't write reviews, but was compelled to after reading this book. As good as Fry has been on the screen, he is even better in his writing. I have never laughed out loud when reading a book, but this one had me on the floor at times. A book you must read if you like Fry's sitcoms. I can't recommend it strongly enough. Looking forward to read his other books now.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2008
Really, really enjoyed this book! It's the first Stephen Fry book I've read and I found it (not surprisingly) to be a lot like a Wodehouse novel: upper class characters, estate house with many guests, first person narrative, fantastic use of language etc. However the comedy comes from the language alone - in contrast with the situation for most of the characters which is in fact quite serious, providing an interesting plot that keeps you turning the pages.

It's definitely the language and comments from Ted throughout that are the real highlight though. From simple laughs like the description of his cough as "something between a vomiting donkey and an explosion at a custard factory" and his concern for the "poor female rabbit-flea", to his 6 page sermon on the "fact that women do not enjoy sex" and his spirited defence of a poet's use of "rare words", it's an absolute joy to read.

I can't wait to read some more of Stephen Fry's books - I'm only concerned I may have started on a bit of a high that the others may struggle to match up to.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2001
Like all of Fry's novels this one will leave you feeling as if you've just had 5 Harrier jets fly inches over your head, which is something that leaves you understandably breathless at the time and is an experience that you are unlikely to forget for a while. His attention to detail (both linguistically and in terms of content) is unbelievable and the story itself ranges from the bizzare to the downright naughty. The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry is an absolute must for anybody with a sense of humour and a couple of afternoons to spare.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 May 2009
During a holiday in eastern Austria I borrowed this novel and read it very nearly cover-to-cover. Having hardly read a book written post-1950 for months, I was utterly delighted.

Fry has that pure love of language that all the best authors possess. The texture of a phrase, the imagery from a sentence - his adoration of the possibilities, humour and wash of words is tangible on every page.

In The Hippopotamus Fry has created a great anti-hero, a rum, self-concerned miser who one can not fail to like completely. The plot moves fairly quickly and amusingly, but the (actually rather good) story is not the attraction of this book. As I have said, Fry's love of language is what makes this compelling reading. That Fry is fond of Oscar Wilde is rather blatant. Small, unimportant witticisms are thrown in at any convenient time and plot-twists abound. It's a ferrero rocher book: there's not an awful lot of point in it, but it is sublimely delicious when you treat yourself to it.

Having not read any of his other books other than his utterly excellent autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot, The Hippopotamus has that complimentary but not entirely welcome quality of making me not want to read anything else he has done, lest it not be of as good a quality. When I finished the book (I think I read it within twenty-four hours) I spent the next hour fondly remembering it. It's one of those books.

You can pick up a copy on here for a penny plus postage. You really might as well.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2006
I Have read all of Fry's fictional offerings and this is the sharpest, wittiest and most original. It tells the tale of a grubby old former journalist who goes for a weekend retreat in a country house with friends. Fry has a wicked imagination - the descriptions of how the youngster can cure all ills makes you laugh out loud. I felt some sorrow as I neared the end of the tome. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2010
I really wanted to hate this book; I mean how many talents can Mr. Fry have? Unfortunately for the green eyed monster lurking in my soul I have to confess he is a damn good writer and as witty in print as with the spoken word. The story follows a jaded poet called Ted Wallace who is sent to investigate the healing abilities of David his Godson. Wallace finds himself staying at the teenager's grand family home and in the company of assorted misfits whose company he far from relishes. The discoveries he makes concerning David's `healing powers' and how they appear to function force Ted into some hilarious situations. The story is strong but perhaps the most delightful part of the book is the realisation of Ted Wallace's character and the thoughts he expresses on contemporary artistic and social conventions.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 1999
Ted Dexter is a Scotch-soaked has-been of a poet and hack, who is called in to investigate a young boy with healing hands. Sound daft to you ? Yes, and deliciously so. This is Stephen Fry's second novel and believe me it doesn't dissappoint. If you annoyed crowded airport lounges with your incessant laughter when reading "The Liar", get ready for the same askance looks. "The Hippopotamus" is out of the same mould, which doesn't for one minute mean it's a re-hash of the first novel, but that it is characterised by the same brilliant intelligence and wit. The story is again convoluted with many a change of direction (where does the man get his ideas from ?) and wincingly sharp and witty characterisations. Amongst the smooth and crafted prose there is many a hidden philosophical gem too - in particular the best two-page summary I've ever read on why women don't like sex. Like "The Liar" there is a twist in the tail which keeps you guessing up until the end. Much is made of the unputdownability of a book these days but I am delighted to say that I put this one down on many an occasion just to make it last longer - before picking it straight up again because I couldn't wait for the next bit. - Matthew Salter
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2002
A book of great variety, wit, crudity and thought provoking ideas, that kept me entertained and amused. Not for the puritanical however.
A clever book in an interesting format with good plotting and well read by the author.
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