Seventy-Two Virgins Paperback – 3 May 2005
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'A hectic comedy thriller…a rip-roaring knockabout farce…refreshingly unpompous, faintly dishevelled and often very funny.' Mail on Sunday
'At the centre of his first novel, a light comedy, is a terrorist plot of frightening ingenuity…the comedy is reminiscent of Tom Sharpe.' Sunday Times
'Johnson scores in his comic handling of those most sensitive issues…he succeeds in being charming and sincere…Boris Johnson has written a witty page-turner.' Observer
'Among the hilarious scenes of events and the wonderful dialogue which keeps the story moving at a cracking pace, Johnson uncovers some home truths…I can give no higher praise to this book than to say that I lapped it up at a single uproarious sitting.' Irish Examiner
'As an author, the Shadow Arts Minister is in a class of his own: ebullient, exhausting but irresistible.' Daily Mail
'fluent, funny material…the writing is vintage, Wodehousian Boris…it has been assembled with skill and terrific energy and will lift morale in the soul of many.' Evening Standard
'This is a comic novel, but Johnson is never far away from making serious points, which he leads us towards with admirable stealth.' Daily Telegraph
A Comedy of ErrorsSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
But, by Heaven, its funny! Boris Johnson takes huge swipes at the world and his dog, including himself, but cleverly avoids taking sides. ON the other hand, like Dave Courtney, he can dress up discomforting ideas in hilarious language and make you laugh despite yourself.
A good way to spend a rainy afternoon.
The plot revolves around a bicycling MP who's a bit hapless, but basically a decent sort of chap (where have we seen that before?); islamist terrorists; a stolen ambulance and a speech by the President of the United States (POTUS) in Westminster Hall. Just don't cheer too loudly when the parking attendant gets stabbed! It had to lose one star off the maximum, though, because of a rather cheesy plot device involving the terrorist's demands and the general public - I won't give it away, but you'll know it when you see it!
Regular readers of Boris's journalism will know what to expect. Readers who have previously been taken in by his highly cultivated "bumbling, public-school educated, bit of a thicko but basically decent chap" image will be pleasantly surprised!
But it's not laughs all the way - the subject matter is deadly serious, terrorism being something that the Western world has learnt to live with on a daily basis - and the author provides lucid, cogent and convincing arguments for questioning America's response to 9/11 and the country's treatment of terrorist suspects.
The characters are believable and convincing, and you do not need to peer too closely between the lines to discern the real identities of some of the principal players in this comedic masterpiece. The dialogue is deftly handled, descriptions are crisp and to the point, and overall the book works extremely well on several different levels.
More than a little reminiscent of Tom Sharpe at his best, this isn't laugh-out-loud funny, but you'll probably find yourself reading it with a smile on your face for most of the time.
The second half of this book does occur at rather more pace and in my opinion is no bad thing! The carefully worded manuscript that has preceded it really does make a lot more sense once things to get going and you find yourself being glad that you carefully navigated your way through it.
The central characters are myriad and all take a central theme and different times during the book. This partly explains the length of time it takes to get going, there is a lot of background work to get through there! A Lebanon born, Wales educated soon to be terrorist going by the name of "Jones" is cooking up a dastardly cunning plan. As "Baldric" might once have said, it is more cunning than Mr Fox after advanced cunning lessons from the cunning University... Ok a slightly twee explanation but one not totally out of keeping with the book, in that it pokes no small amount of fun at what really is a comedy of errors.
The book isn't as predictably as one might have expected and doesn't take a moral high ground either way, it quite cleverly balances the seemingly reasonable demands of the terrorists with the abhorrence of seeking these outcomes through the means they employ.
I wont go on, but suffice to say I strongly recommend this book to you all, it is an excellent read and damn good fun!
If you've read a Carl Hiaasen novel, this has a similar flavour and pacing. There is a great deal of local colour, tidbits of history, details of the setting and traditions of Parliament, including some areas the public never see. None of that stops the action, but it does make everything feel more real. The main characters all mask various comic areas of incompetence or weakness, so you understand them instantly and mostly forgive them.
Some readers will have a bit of fun spotting minor celebs, mostly political, who have cameos in the story. Johnson has not given any space to people he genuinely dislikes; the PM is hardly in it! His version of George Bush, however, seems quite charitably smarter than the real thing. I also noticed a few bits of literary homage, including a Raymond Chandler line that never fails to bring a smile to my face.
The terrorists are largely cardboard cutouts, but one of them (based largely on Richard Reid, the shoe bomber) has more of a role to play, and by God you end up understanding him as well.
The only thing I didn't like about this book was a few Britishisms inserted in the mouths of American characters. This is easily overlooked, and in fact most readers probably won't notice. It's not enough of a problem to lose it any stars.
This is definitely a fluffy and fun book, and it was just the thing to read with a bout of bronchitis.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dammed good entertaining read, just right for the holiday
I really enjoyed this witty page turner, think four Lions meets Yes Minister.
Brilliant! Horribly so close to possible.
The characters are so subtly accurate, despite being on the verge of caricature.
There but for fortune.....
Silly, clever and incredibly synical, this made me chuckle out loud. Got a bit tired if the diversionary narrative at some points but enjoyed it all immensely. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MightyOak
I enjoyed this book. It made me chuckle in places and was a good description of a farcical attempt of terrorists trying to do their dirty deed 😀Published 2 months ago by Mrs. J. DIXIE
Utter bilge, a horrifically failed ego trip that takes mangled extracts from other books and randomly mixes them into a literary sludge of the worst order.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
One word review. Brilliant. On a serious note - desperate need for more books like this.Published 2 months ago by M
Brilliant. I had no idea that Mr Johnson was such a good author and genuinely funny man. There is something of the Tom Sharpe about this book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tonic1961
The central character is a bicycling MP now why does that sound familiar….and he has an assistant called Cameron. Read morePublished 6 months ago by P. J. Dunn