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The Liar Paperback – 1 Jun 1994

4.0 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Jun 1994
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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press; Reissue edition (Jun. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156947012X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569470121
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.9 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,835,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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.

Book Description

'Brilliant' Sunday Times
'Hilarious' Literary Review
'Sublime' Cosmopolitan --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 24 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
Having thoroughly enjoyed Stephen Fry's autobiography, "Moab is my Washpot", I decided to read "The Liar", his first novel, which was written before "Moab". I'm glad I read the books in that order, as many of the events in "The Liar" are taken from Fry's own public school experiences. I had a clearer understanding of situations and characters in "The Liar" because they identified strongly with events that had taken place in Fry's life. I found this book very funny, 100% due to the author's unimitable, very wry and witty "public school" style of writing. His descriptions of events and types of people are so 'spot-on', you can't help but laugh and think how accurate it all is. Great stuff! If this is Stephen Fry, then I'm hooked!
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Format: Paperback
When John Prescott surfaced on the political scene as Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Heseltine commented on his lack of social grace saying, "Language is not his first language." The same cannot be said of Stephen Fry. He demonstrates a sculptor's skill in carving each sentence delicately.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I should preface this by saying 'I love Stephen Fry.' Despite being a heterosexual male, I would quite happily marry him just so I could enjoy a lifetime of his mild manners and witty repartees.

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.
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Format: Audio Cassette
I loved The Liar when I read it a few years ago. I remember it slipped into literary legend for me. But that did not prepare me for the sheer magnificence of the unabridged audio version of the book. It combines arguably Fry's best literary work to date with his brilliance as a narrator that won him the Talkie Award for reading Harry Potter. To hear the main character, Adrian, brought to life is a bowel-shattering joy to behold. Add Fry's flair for comic delivery and you are are left with something every person with a brain and a fraction of sliver of particle of iota of a smidgen of a mere suggestion of a sense of humour should own. It was great. I loved it. Buy it now.
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By A Customer on 24 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
Stephen Fry's first novel is absolutely brilliant and there are laughs and surprises on virtually every page. The title character contains more of a hint of the author himself particularly if you have read Fry's autobiography. It will keep you guessing throughout and I defy anyone who does not laugh out loud at least twenty times while reading it. As well as being funny it is also delicately touching; in short it is amazing
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The good parts are very good. But the bad parts are really rather horrid. The reader should persevere. Most of the disagreeable bits are early in the book. As I read it on Kindle I can tell you that by 35% I was tempted to give up, but by about 45% I was beginning to enjoy it, and it got better and better from then on.

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.

Charles
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