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The Hippopotamus Hardcover – 24 Mar 1994

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson; 1st edition (24 Mar. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091784123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091784126
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.4 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 582,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Fry is a leading light in film, theatre, radio and television the world over, receiving accolades in spades and plaudits by the shovel. As a writer, producer, director, actor and presenter he has featured in works as varied and adored as the movie 'Wilde', the TV series 'Blackadder' and 'Jeeves and Wooster', the sketch show 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie', the panel game 'QI', the radio series 'Fry's English Delight', Shakespeare's Globe's celebrated 2012 production of 'Twelfth Night' (as Malvolio) and documentaries on countless subjects very close to his heart.

He is also the bestselling author of four novels - 'The Stars' Tennis Balls', 'Making History', 'The Hippopotamus' and 'The Liar' - as well as two volumes of autobiography - 'Moab is My Washpot' and 'The Fry Chronicles', which published in six unique editions that combined to sell over a million copies. His third volume of autobiography, 'More Fool Me', is published in September 2014.

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Review

"My goodness what fruity language Fry uses! You can feel his enjoyment, and also the huge force of hi desire to please you, as you read this." -- "William Leith, Mail on Sunday
"One of the funniest people writing on either side of the Atlantic...like a combination of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis but funnier than either." -- "Publishers Weekly

Book Description

A hilarious and brilliant novel from the comedian, actor and polymathic TV presenter. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Geraldine Powell on 13 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 By A Customer on 17 Feb. 2000
Format: Paperback
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 By boy_raoul on 7 May 2005
Format: Paperback
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 By David on 3 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
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 By A Customer on 12 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
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 By Nathan Fisher on 19 May 2009
Format: Paperback
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 By D. J. MELHUISH on 18 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
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 By flapdoodle dame on 26 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
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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