79 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Seriously funny, 16 Nov. 2005
Speaking in defense of his first play, _Forty Years On_, Alan Bennett was prompted to comment '...a play is no less serious because it is funny.' Now, taking up the generally candid spirit of his latest literary offering, _Untold Stories_, I'd like to make something of a confession: I have never much cared for Alan Bennett, and would sometimes draw unfavourable comparisons between him and Peter Cook - the only two members of _Beyond the Fringe_ to have made a lasting impression on me. This lack of enthusiasm on my part was primarily because I perceived Bennett as just too serious. But upon reading _Untold Stories_ I made the most rapid turnaround imaginable, causing me to reflect (nearly forty years on from that first play) that a book need be no less funny because it is serious.
Whether making wry observations about Jesus as portrayed in art, or sharing idle observations from his diaries, Bennett is consistently funny, and effortlessly so. And the overall picture of Bennett himself that emerges through his depiction of his parents is all the more fascinating because of the sense of intimacy his writing creates between this shy and very private individual and the reader. Utterly brilliant!