4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Lacks the wit of Oscar Wilde,
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This review is from: The Polyglots (Paperback)
"The Polyglots" (1925) is a tale of an eccentric Belgian family living in the Far East during WW1 and the Russian Revolution. The novel contains a multitude of bizarre characters encountered by the narrator, Georges Hamlet Alexander Diabologh, whilst travelling on a military mission. The story ends with this character planning the novel the reader has just read.
I thought the comic/tragic tale was confusing, absurd and rather boring; it felt too dated and the writing wasn't sharp enough to carry the story along. Although I smirked at some of the author's excessive use of ornamentation - the illegitimate child was 'a flower of spontaneous exultation', "The Polyglots" lacked the epigrammatic wit of Oscar Wilde.
William Gerhardie has had many literary champions including Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, C.P Snow and Katherine Mansfield, and was at one time hailed as the English Chekhov. But although he has made a great impression on our British authors, so far he appears to have been totally ignored by the general reading public. I wonder if the next generation will feel the same?