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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really funny and worth reading
I'm a journalist and although the world Michael Frayn describes is long gone, there were some moments of recognition even now. Fellow hacks will absolutely love the description of the press trip (and much else), but this isn't just a book for those in the trade: rather, it's a minor classic in the grand old tradition of British farce. Michael Frayn is extremely good at...
Published on 24 Oct 2000

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Many people had worked on the paper for twenty years, and never once come face to face with the editor."
Set in the time before Wapping, when newspapers were put together in Fleet Street and streets off - like Hand and Ball Court, where a particular paper has rambling premises that rumble and tremble to life late in the afternoon as the presses start to roll, this novel is sometimes depressing and occasionally, quietly, rebarbatively funny. It tells of a different age where...
Published on 7 Dec 2011 by Eileen Shaw


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really funny and worth reading, 24 Oct 2000
By A Customer
I'm a journalist and although the world Michael Frayn describes is long gone, there were some moments of recognition even now. Fellow hacks will absolutely love the description of the press trip (and much else), but this isn't just a book for those in the trade: rather, it's a minor classic in the grand old tradition of British farce. Michael Frayn is extremely good at slipping in to other people's voices and the main character, Dyson, is one of the few literary examples of journalist as everyman. Read it, you'll love it.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant comic novel, 24 Jan 2001
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Whilst the journalists have left Fleet Street and the Lunchtime O'Booze is a thing of the past, this book feels very contemporary in its description of London: the middle class professional buying property in a destitute 'up and coming' area, the lure of television, and the tedium of work.
Brilliantly written- economical, trenchant, extremely funny. Justifiably compared to 'Scoop'
Highly highly recommended (in fact, better to my mind than 'Headlong')
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun...., 21 May 2011
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Towards the End of the Morning (Paperback)
I had forgotten how funny Michael Frayn's writing could be. Towards End of the Morning is a comic novel set in a newspaper office in the 1960s - a cross between The Observer and The Guardian. Much of the story is very funny - the pre-TV programme meal could have been straight out of Monty Python - but there are also some dark undertones of ambition, job security and jealousy. Frayn is very prescient about celebrity culture and the middle-class angst about getting one's children into the "right" school.

In many ways this book is "a blast from the past". Mrs Mounce recommends the wearing of a roll-on, suitcases have no wheels, flat-dwellers shared a bathroom, and it was not the done thing to have your girlfriend stay overnight. All that, and the non-stop smoking and drinking, make it very much a period piece.

An odd thing is how little work anyone seems to be doing....I did wonder how any newspaper actually got printed and out for sale. There are some sympathetic characters but others are truly appalling. Comparisons have been made with Waugh's Scoop - and rightly so.

Great fun.
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59 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic comic Fleet Street Novel, 14 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Written in 1967 (at that time, the present day), the book is set in a Fleet Street which no longer exists. Wapping has long since superseded Grub Street, both in work practices and in technology. Frayn, in hindsight, gives us a fascinating insight into newspaper journalism as it was, not as it is now.
The setting is a monolithic and nameless Fleet Street Daily. Dyson, 40's, a married, mortgaged dreamer and father of two, is head of a backwater covering nature notes, crosswords and "yesteryear". His staff is Bob, an aimless 29 year old single graduate and old Eddy Moulton, nearer the end of his days than he realises and compiler of the "100 Years Ago This Day" column.
Dyson dreams of recognition, wider success and celebrity status but seems unable to escape the lethargy of the work, despite attempting occasional, febrile bursts of it. Bob's chief office activity is eating toffees from a bag in his desk and writing vacuous love letters to his young girlfriend Tess at her finishing school. Eddy spends his days poring over yellowed back numbers and lives wholly in the past.
Life has continued in this way for aeons. What little work done is confined to the late morning, before the staff repair to the pub for the obligatory journalistic liquid lunch and gossip with the other staff hacks. The editor, a distant, shadowy figure, has never been seen by anyone. He communicates, Howard Hughes - like, by note. At one point, he attempts to sack the pictures editor, the embittered Reg. Mounce, using an unsigned memo. Reg., believing this to be a joke perpetrated by his peers, ignores his dismissal, carries on with his job and is still employed weeks later.
The afternoon passes in the customary beery trance until the deadline approaches. In Dyson's
department of course, this has no effect whatsoever, given the timeless nature of the copy. Their only indication that the deadline has passed is the distant rumble of the presses below.
This routine is set to continue for ever, until three things happen. Eddy Moulton dies quietly at his desk, undiscovered for hours; Dyson is asked to appear on late night television with a panel of experts and Bob's girlfriend arrives with marriage written in capitals at the top of her agenda. The comic pace is fast and furious. Eddy's death creates a vacancy for Erskine, a talented, capable and laconic graduate who, within weeks, has taken over the department by stealth.
Dyson has too many pre-TV appearance gins in the hospitality suite and, on air, can say nothing but "how fascinating", again and again. Helpless Bob, loved by Tess, mothered by Mounce's wife and platonically and confusedly desired by Mrs. Dyson, progresses not one of these relationships and fails to take his one chance to escape. It is Erskine, a chilly precursor of the '80s yuppie, who finally wins the rewards.
Frayn's background in journalism as a Guardian and Observer columnist is clearly on show throughout. He uses more than just pale shades of his former colleagues, all finely drawn and
convincingly set in their now vanished dusty Fleet Street offices. How hard it is to imagine any one of them surviving today's frenetic newspaper world! The fast paced, witty narrative carries the reader compulsively from one comic episode to the next, right through to the hilarious climax. Read this accomplished, sophisticated novel. You will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Towards the End of the Morning, 31 Dec 2010
By 
N. A. Spencer - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Towards the End of the Morning (Paperback)
Light hearted look at the newspaper industry when Fleet Street was the main hub of this enterprise. The story follows the hopes and ambitions of John Dyson, who tired of being stuck in some dreary office compiling crossword puzzles and other mundane information, dreams of recognition, fame and fortune. The themes of the novel centre on John's relationships with his wife Jannie and his work colleagues Bob Bell and Eddy Moulton. Dyson is invited to appear on television in a debate about differing cultures and he sees this as his golden opportunity to fame and fortune. His wife and friend Bob are not so convinced and the interplay between the three give some of the humour to the book. There are other minor characters (Mrs Mounce and Tessa being two) who add to the overall story giving it many amusing turns. I will admit that the novel is not all 'laugh out loud' humour but it is still an enjoyable light read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's All in the Title, 23 Feb 2010
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This review is from: Towards the End of the Morning (Paperback)
An incredibly precocious novel, written by the then 31 year-old Frayn, yet displaying the insights and technique of writers 30 years his senior. A bitter-sweet story (its essence captured in the title) about people who make life far too hard for themselves, peppered with laugh-out-loud set pieces that show Frayn testing the waters for later works like 'Noises Off' and 'Clockwise'.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Many people had worked on the paper for twenty years, and never once come face to face with the editor.", 7 Dec 2011
By 
Eileen Shaw "Kokoschka's_cat" (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Towards the End of the Morning (Paperback)
Set in the time before Wapping, when newspapers were put together in Fleet Street and streets off - like Hand and Ball Court, where a particular paper has rambling premises that rumble and tremble to life late in the afternoon as the presses start to roll, this novel is sometimes depressing and occasionally, quietly, rebarbatively funny. It tells of a different age where a man might sleep away his life, preparing staples of the paper such as the Days of Old, and the `Meditation' pieces, as does poor old Eddie Moulton who one day is found to be dead at his desk.

There are various others involved in this tale of newspapermen who seem only occasionally to write anything. Dyson is very much the angry young man who has kept some of his nonsensical ire but has lost his sense of humour in the rat race. He gets a chance to go on TV, on the kind of programme where a panel of serious men smoking their heads off sat around agreeing with each other. The description of their meeting in the Green Room is one of the best things in the book and must be read to be appreciated. Back in the office, the addition of Morris - young, TV-smart and impressively knowledgeable about almost everything, is a signal that times are about to change.

This is, in places, a bit of a slog, but it has its moments too. An amusing picture of journalism's one-time backwaters - and of the people who could never conceive of how revolutionary a change was about to strike.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining novel, 11 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Towards the End of the Morning (Paperback)
This was recommended on Radio 4's 'A Good Read'. It was new to me but, as I enjoy the author's dramas, I gave it a go. The late sixties world is well captured and the various plot lines are well handled. The comedy is genuinely amusing and it is a novel to enjoy.
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1.0 out of 5 stars But perhaps that was the point - the lack of credibility is supposed to be funny! Well for me it failed, 30 Aug 2014
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I read a review which assured me that this book would keep me amused and entertained. I failed to do either. The characters are pretentious and even ridiculous. Whilst allowing for the vintage of the setting I found it hard to believe that anyone of enough intelligence to work for a newspaper could have zero work ethic. But perhaps that was the point - the lack of credibility is supposed to be funny! Well for me it failed. There are so many fantastic novels to read I could not recommend this one to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully evocative, 4 Jun 2014
By 
Mike Dolphin "Mikey D" (Tamworth) - See all my reviews
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With the current British penchant for all things nostalgic, this book hits exactly the right spot. Welcome to the World in black and white, where beer was 4d a pint!
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Towards the End of the Morning
Towards the End of the Morning by Michael Frayn (Paperback - 19 May 2005)
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