Devil in Disguise Paperback – 10 Jun 2010
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"It's as camp as the proverbial row of tents, but Clary tells a very good story. Funny and absolutely charming." (The Times)
"The comedian's debut novel sold by the bucketload, and this new one is even better - a darkly funny and deeply rude triumph" (Heat Magazine)
"Julian Clary combines crime and comedy in his outrageous new novel...brilliantly funny and touching" (Daily Mirror)
"Consistently triumphant...a brilliant romp" (Express)
"The Devil In Disguise is a sheer delight from start to finish.
I blame Clary for the bags under my eyes and my mumbling late-night mantra of "just one more chapter"....it's Showgirls meets Queer As Folk meets Baby Jane. Wonderful." (Pink Paper)
`The comedian's debut novel sold by the bucketload, and this new one is even better - a darkly funny and deeply rude triumph.'
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Molly is the ultimate bubbly fag-hag and is cherished by the Clary narrative. Simon, her over-sexed homosexual best friend, on the other hand, is not a very sympathetic person at all and gets most of the dry one-liners, and cutting put-downs mostly associated with the man from Sticky Moments. It is very 'telling' how Simon finds himself on the comedy circuit and manages to launch himself into a stage career, based not only on being camp, but mostly by being extremely sarcastic/vile to the general public through the use of a persona, that makes the reader draw an uncomfortable parallel to the author. It brings a strange realization to the fore ; one, of course, likes Julian Clary (or else why buy the book?), but the Simon, who echos the presence of Julian on the page, is utterly revolting.
Thank goodness for the introduction of Lilia. The landlady with ambition, imagination, a rottweiler and an incredibly ruthless streak, whom brings a touch of the Arch-Villainess (a la Alexis Carrington-Colby from Dynasty)to play that really cements your fingers to the pages.
Without wishing to give too much away, it is the 'affair' between Molly's fiance, Daniel, and her BF Simon, which acts as the catalyst bringing about the pivotal actions in Devil in Disguise. We get to discover what happens in the aftermath to Molly - her meteoric (and quite enjoyably unbelievable) rise to fame, Simon - his fight with alcoholism and sex-addiction, and Lilia - her controlling, cruel, yet somehow fabulous behaviour which leads to a satisfyingly dramatic climax. Only Daniel, the one time love of Molly's life, NEVER gets mentioned again, and leaves a loose end that I felt needed tying up, if only to satisfy myself that he went on to suitably regret his dastardly actions.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The story was quite gripping and fast paced - especially with the deliciously devilish Lilia dominating matters - but I must say occasionally the odd flippant remark, quip or comment made by a character would detract from the story, to remind you it was being written by Julian Clary.
But it's not a laugh a minute, there is some deeply dark stuff here and the tragic moments are as well-drawn as the laughs; touchingly human and real.
So that's the plot, I thought it started well, sagged a little in the middle and perked up towards the end and considering the 400+ page length, I'm glad it did. It's full of Clary's observations and wit and some of the prose would make a docker blush! I though the characterisation was excellent as was the insider's view of the life of theatrical luvvies and the entertainment industry in general. It was interesting the read the interview with the author at the end because it explained that he was playing the part of the Emcee in Caberet which gave him food for thought for some of the plot and characters contained within the novel. Anyway, I'd conclude by saying that if you like Clary's humour then you're bound to enjoy this book and it's a perfect summer read - cheeky, fun and a more than a little bit insightful.
I love camp humour. I can watch and listen to Julian Clary and Kenneth Williams, God rest his soul, for hours. Maybe, just maybe Kenneth Williams has the edge in unique comedy. He was the first and by far the best, but his writing I regret does not compare to Julian Clary's. Ever read the Kenneth William diaries? You will not need sleeping tablets I regret if you read that in bed. Now Julian is a different kettle of fish. I love his prose and its far better if you imagine Julian narrating the book. Brings a smile to my face just thinking of it.
I have not read his initial offering in the book department but this is a good read and with many a humorous moment. I loved it and laughed out loud on the tube. That way you get seats free to your left and right. Molly and Simon appealed to me and I have friends just like them Well I think I do!!
The storey is a good wheeze, light heated and steamy. Just the ticket. Now do I wait for Julian's next book or shall I try his first novel? Either way I am sure I am in for a few more chuckles on the tube.
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