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9 Reviews
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a comedy but a good novel
This book is sold as a comedy novel and for the first half of the book I would say that it fits that description well enough. For the second half of the book, it's a novel: the comedy and light relief fall away. I'm not sure all of this is a bad thing since the comedy aspect of the first half didn't dominate and neither did it intrude. I suppose the basic underplot of...
Published on 2 Sep 2000 by duncan.williamson@tesco.net

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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Postman takes on privatization
A very disappointing book, despite some excellent dialogue but I found it dull, predictable and very thin on laughs. I would not recommend it, as there is better stuff out there.
Published on 8 Dec 1999 by Mr. S. J. Wade


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a comedy but a good novel, 2 Sep 2000
By 
duncan.williamson@tesco.net (A Brit in Tbilisi, Georgia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hemingway's Chair (Paperback)
This book is sold as a comedy novel and for the first half of the book I would say that it fits that description well enough. For the second half of the book, it's a novel: the comedy and light relief fall away. I'm not sure all of this is a bad thing since the comedy aspect of the first half didn't dominate and neither did it intrude. I suppose the basic underplot of saving a town's Post Office from International Wheeler Dealerdom was funny in itself!
I liked the way this book and the main characters all developed and the storyline was credible and moved along very well.
My lasting impression of this book won't be the way the post office was taken over by a not very nice chappie; but that Palin himself seems to sit four square as the main character. The knowledge of Hemingway and his works that was liberally spread around this book was real knowledge taken from someone who has clearly read, learned and appreciated everything that Hemingway had to offer. I even have the feeling that Palin owns THAT chair: the chair that is at least partly central to the plot.
Drop the comedy tag and approach this as a good read and you'll enjoy it I'm sure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Palin Leaves us Wanting More, 13 Feb 2008
This review is from: Hemingway's Chair (Paperback)
Michael Palin's career from `Monty Python' through `Ripping Yarns' to globe trotter and TV presenter of `Around the World' and `Pole to Pole' laid no groundwork to prepare the reader for his debut comic novel `Hemingway's Chair'.

Written in 1995 but still relevant today `Hemingway's Chair' tells the story of Martin Sproale, Assistant Post Master of Theston Post Office and what befalls him when on the retirement of the Post Master rather than be promoted is usurped by a Manager sent from head office with plans for privatisation, sale or worse, franchise. At an initial glance not a very inspiring plot but this belays the themes of changing society, the effects on the little man and the general outcome of kicking against the pricks.

As a polite suburbanite no one would credit Martin's obsession with Ernest Hemingway whose famous quote `A man can be destroyed but never defeated' inspires Martin to stand up and be counted and lead the fight back.

Palin's debut novel is as inspired as its hero and all throughout the reading the reader is forever wondering, when can we expect Palin's second novel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing & thoroughly entertaining prelude to a TV adaptation, 31 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Hemingway's Chair (Paperback)
Michael Palin continues his Monty Python theme of quiet, stifled, inhibited lower middle class suburban rage for his first novel 'Hemingway's Chair'. Palin, though is so satisfied with life (and why shouldn't he be), that he only manages mild angst in this tale of how high technology and corporatism give no benefit to the communities in whose name 'progress' is championed. The hero, a slightly inadequate 'bicycle clips' type of man (who Palin would lovingly play when it comes to TV) with the Pythonesque name 'Sproale' and is goaded into imitating his hero, Hemingway, by a visiting academic. The result is slightly amusing, slightly serious, slightly inconsequential. and very charming, as befits the author. Some books are tough going, some the words race off the page at you, but this book the words ran away so fast it was all over in a flash. But, hell, it was fun while it lasted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read, 13 Sep 2012
By 
Mary (Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hemingway's Chair (Hardcover)
This is an absolutely brilliant book from Michael Palin. I love his style of writing and can almost imagine him reading it to me, himself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOL, 14 Jan 2012
This review is from: Hemingway's Chair (Hardcover)
This read was enjoyed by my husband and myself before gifting it for Christmas. The book was equally appreciated by its now owner.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Totally Compelling Read, 12 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Hemingway's Chair (Paperback)
Typically Palin in his best 'Ripping Yarns' hero role. Martin Sproale is a seething mass of frustration masquerading as a lowly Post Office counter clerk. Full of humour, pathos and a scathing view of how progress affects the life of small town England. Couldn't put it down.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding Palin as ever, 4 Nov 2010
By 
I. J. Davison "ianheadland" (Lincolnshire UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hemingway's Chair (Paperback)
"Hemingway's Chair" is one of those 'feel good' books that do not come along that often. Yes I am sure there are greater works of literary fiction but that is not the point at all. Palin is able to transport the reader into the minds and lives of small town and village England. His descriptions are excellent and so evocative and the characterisations are sublime and wonderful. As you read you will discover that as Martin Sproale becomes the very persona of Hemingway, so then does Michael Palin become Martin Sproale.
This book is so good that it deserves many reads. In fact I have read it more than a dozen times and I have lost count of the times i have listened to it on audio cassette. Why isn't it released on CD audio?
I heartily recommend this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable Novel., 2 Nov 2008
By 
P. Butler "Book Muncher" (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hemingway's Chair (Paperback)
This story is an amusing account of the lives ordinery people in a small town, just trying to get on with their lives. They don't want change, but it is forced upon them.

I really enjoyed this book as it discribes so many crusty middle aged people I've know, who want society to remain as it was when they were in their prime. A young upstart start to push them out of their comfort zone, and they don't like it.

You will be disappointed if you are expecting some Monty Python, but pleased if you want a gentle little story.

The characters are engaging, and do remind me of some awful people I have had to work with.
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Postman takes on privatization, 8 Dec 1999
By 
Mr. S. J. Wade "thebardofb6" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hemingway's Chair (Paperback)
A very disappointing book, despite some excellent dialogue but I found it dull, predictable and very thin on laughs. I would not recommend it, as there is better stuff out there.
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