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The Hippopotamus Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Fry is simply delicious in his writing style - clever, sharp and descriptive only to the point of necessity.
Not as outlandish and fiesty as the Star's Tennis Balls, but certainly a pleasant (if bizarre) surprise.
First off, you can just settle in and enjoy the narrator's rants. There are at least two dozen exceptional rants, and at least twice as many mini-rants that cover pretty much everything current that needs ranting about.
Or, you can skip about and enjoy a number of priceless set pieces. They are tied more or less to the plot and narrative, but stand alone as comic gems. (Toward the end of the book there is an interview between our hero and an emergency room physician that is worth well more than the cost of the book, just by itself).
You may also, of course, pay attention to the actual plot. Our hero has infiltrated a country house in order to investigate supposed miracle cures, and while that seems for most of the book to just be an awkward frame upon which to hang many random events, our author very sneakily engages in a final summing up of the miracle mystery that is clever and satisfying.
Additionally, you could decide to consider seriously the various political, cultural and spiritual issues that the author slyly brings into the narrative. I gave them passing attention, though, and emerged not much the lesser for having elected just to follow the comic threads.
In addition to all of the above there are several hundred deadpan, clever, dry, ironic, and sometimes even wise and knowing, throwaway lines that could probably be extracted and rearranged as an anthology of brutally funny aphorisms. So there's that.
Final treat - our hero, Ted, can be something of a loud, opinionated, cantankerous, bloviating and hide bound boor. Just as Shakespeare, (wisely, in my estimation), never wrote a play consisting solely of monologues by Falstaff, so Fry has not written a book seen and heard solely from our comic hero's point of view. Every now and then we step away from Ted and watch him from a distance, and through the eyes of a different character. This is a bit of a break and a kindness to the reader, and I appreciated Fry's consideration in that regard.
In short, this was an unalloyed delight and a witty, obliquely raunchy, and sly reflection of all that is best in Stephen Fry's work. An excellent find.
(Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
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