The Liar Paperback – 1 Jun 1994
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|Paperback, 1 Jun 1994||
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"The Liar is hilarious -- page after page of the most outrageous and often filthy jokes, delicious conceits, instant, brilliant ripostes that would only occur to ordinary mortals after days of teeth-grinding lunacy." -- "Literary Review""Brilliantly entertaining and consistently outrageous." -- "Daily Mail" "From the Trade Paperback edition." --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
'Brilliant' Sunday Times
'Hilarious' Literary Review
'Sublime' Cosmopolitan --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Delightfully easy to read and entertaining, the story mixes fiction with fact as a young Adrian Healey (presumably Stephen's alter ego) stumbles through life as a Cambridge undergraduate. Not content with simply reading for his degree in the conventional sense, Adrian attempts to demonstrate his literary brilliance by forging an early work from Charles Dickens. His deceit fools many a Cambridge Don and Adrian's prank becomes the substance of legend.
The book provides a frank and often shocking look into university life, covering fagging, homosexuality, suicide and Piccadilly rent boys. Designed more to entertain than to shock, the book will appeal to fans of Fry, those wishing to know more about university life in early 1970's England, and all who enjoy a riotous good read.
This being said, since I discovered Amazon's 'review' function I've tried to dissect books as objectively as possible. Therefore, I have to confess that The Liar was slightly disappointing for me.
Don't get me wrong: It's fantastically written. Fry's mastery of the language is quite simply art in motion, and the insight the work provides into the man himself is fascinating.
However... it's not very good, really.
I'm all for unconventional plot devices and disregarding standard narrative flow, but Fry's attempts at a disjointed style are immensely unsatisfying. Jumping between past and present interrupts the characters' natural development, and makes the story hard to follow. It also makes it hard to keep track of the sheer number of characters that Fry throws in.
Another issue I have is that Fry doesn't utilise his protaganist's compulsive lying tendencies enough. The parts where the character is lying - and is revealed to be as such at the end - are removed from the plot, so when his falsehoods are later revealed it is a massive anti-climax, as they have no bearing on what has actually occured during the novel.
Overall, I feel that this is a weak first attempt. It is certainly worth reading, but Fry has written far superior works to this. Therefore, I can't really recommend it, but will instead advise purchasing 'Moab is my Washpot', which is in essence a more impressive version of this. It also has the advantage of being a true autobiography, instead of vaguely wielding the autobiographical elements that make The Liar appealing. Or, if you'd rather read Fry's best fictional work, go for The Hippopotamus: although a strong stomach is required to get through it.
Mr Fry's sense of humour (at least in the early stages of this novel) is that of a particularly disgusting adolescent schoolboy. The revolting descriptions of mutual masturbation etc will no doubt appeal to some, but most will find them a big turn off. One also fears, until about half way through, that we are expected to admire the grossly superficial "intelligence" of the hero. But it really is worth ploughing on. Even the humour improves (rather dramatically).
My guess is that Mr Fry wrote the first third of the book when he was about sixteen (and probably a rather nasty youth). He then put it aside for ten or so years. I think it was a mistake, when he resumed, that he didn't re-write what he had already written. If he had done so, this could have been a minor classic. As it is, the novel will be read for a few years (because its author is a "celebrity") but will then be forgotten.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great, unbelievably rich, beautifully constructed. Why have I never read it before? Stephen Fry has all the ability to draw from his past, utilize his enormous intellect and... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Mel Blunt
Ideal for admirers of Mr Fry's wordsmythery! Witty and highly engaging.Published 5 months ago by Seasoned purchaser!
I thoroughly enjoyed it ❤ and there were many laugh out loud moments that kept me wanting more. A great Stephen Fry readPublished 6 months ago by Amanda Cahill
I really struggle to write reviews on fiction books as I don't want to give the plot line away to anyone thinking of buying it themselves - that would be a bit like just telling... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Gabzb