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Stretch, 29 Paperback – 19 Jun 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st Edition. edition (19 Jun. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006514286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006514282
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,900,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Brilliantly funny. A dazzling performance. This is a book of great poise, teeming with invention, wicked humour and unforced insights.’ OBSERVER

‘Heartbreakingly funny. Debuts don’t get much better than this.’ DAILY MIRROR

‘Lit by some truly fine writing and observation. Lanigan’s account of a family sliding into misery has moments of Dickensian greatness.’ INDEPENDENT

‘Lanigan’s writing is dense with witty metaphors. The book also sends up London life a treat. But the book’s warmth and honesty ensure that it is more than simply satire… one not only laughs but sympathises.’ DAILY TELEGRAPH

From the Back Cover

An outstanding debut novel – an original and engaging black comedy about an angst-ridden twenty-something Londoner whose main achievement in life seems to be that he can prove that he's a loser.

'If I had a business card there's only one thing it could say on it: FRANK STRETCH – LESS SUCCESSFUL THAN MY FRIENDS'

Now, you may think you're less successful than your friends and you may well be right. The difference between you and Frank, however, is that he has a system that proves it. Everyone he knows or meets is given a 'life score' – marks out of ten for the ten 'important' areas of life: money, love, sex, work, car etc.

His best friend Tom scores an impressive 73, his flatmate Henry 59. Even his oily and more-than-likely criminal boss Bart scores a hefty 68. But Frank – with his going-nowhere job managing one of Bart's yuppie bars, his rusting 1977 Cavalier and the fact that he hasn't pulled for months – weighs in with a paltry 29.

Frank finally decides that things must change. But with Frank's luck, there's every chance that things will get a lot worse before they get better…

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By simon gurney HALL OF FAME on 5 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with many other reviewers here, this would appear to fit in with the 90s lads genre, but is actually a deeper and richer experience.
Expertly written, the style carries the reader along effortlessly, never quite knowing what to expect next, Frank Stretch establishes his ability to do the worst possible thing at almost every turn, and how easy it is to relate.
The book follows an almost classic template, including the flight, which brings back memories of Allan Partridge amongst others.
Strecth almost continually projects a blind optimism and acceptance to his continued spiralling descent, and in this respect it is a more honest and entertaining book.
very highly recomended, and cant wait to read more from Lanigan.
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Format: Paperback
This really is a very good book indeed.
Damian Lanigan has created a character in Frank Stretch that approaches a Homer Simpson-esque degree of doing, saying and thinking things that make men cringe with embarrasment because they can see a bit of Frank in themselves.
I reckon I score in the mid forties myself. Could do better on the wheels, home and popularity front!
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By A Customer on 31 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
Frank Stretch is 29, well educated and considers himself a loser, constantly and consistently. He employs his ferral intelligence and humour to keep us apprised of the fact.
"My sort of party had grave gender imbalances and not enough booze and tended to sift down to four pasty lads arguing bitterly about D.H Lawrence.'
In this stunning first novel, Lanigan provides us with a portrait of London in the 1990's that is articulated using the power tools of rudeness and booze, and uses those to cut through and lay the human condition bare. Peculiarly, it is touching at times. This book is both universal and exact.
Intelligent, corrupt with wit, it's actually gutter funny. It cracks you up, page by page.
'Stretch,29' is as vivid and vivacious as 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels', provides a different and perhaps larger cross section of London, one that is paralyzed by self-consciousness, and arms you with a new moral imperative, to be as rude as you can be.
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Format: Paperback
With a vitriolic wit straddling the Atlantic, Mr. Lanigan gives us Francis Dean Stretch, Oxbridge loser and poster-boy for 90's Britain. "Stretch, 29" will have you laughing out loud and checking your groin for wet spots. Our man Frank Stretch is on cultural surveillance, consistently thrashing his class-conscious peers, while offering readers some frank observations about life in ol' blighty. Frank indulges in his own misery, but hey, nobody said being English was easy.
Though some American readers may find the slang bewildering and the ending ponderous, Mr. Lanigan's writing talents (to use my American vernacular) kick-ass. With gems like, "Sometimes, unavoidably, I would become aroused by all the noise, and nick a dingy onanistic biscuit from his erotic banqueting table," a new literary talent is here. This Yank is ready for more: bring on "The Other Side of Patrick Moon."
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By A Customer on 11 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
It isn't a great book, but it's bloody funny - I laughed out loud several times -and I keenly anticipate Damian Lanigan's next. Takes a while to hit its stride, and some readers may discard it before it does, but after 30 or so pages finds its voice in a much blacker comedy than the school-of-Hornby opening suggests (boys and their scorecards is a bit of a tired idea and one which the book hardly needs). One or two brilliant set pieces, notably the squirm-inducing reunion with ex-girlfriend Marie, and a comedy of embarassment and humiliation which recalls Kingsley Amis more than anyone else. 'Unlucky Jim' is a bit trite, but not too far from the truth. I'm not utterly convinced by the ending, but I'd grown unaccountably fond of Frank by the end, and was quietly pleased to see him pulled out of his seemingly terminal nosedive. Roll on the next....
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I'm sure I'm not the first or last person to rank my friends and acquaintances in the same way as Frank. Great bar fodder to pass the time and thankfully I found I came out with a (slightly) higher average than Frank. One of the most enjoyable books I've read. I was genuinely sorry to come to the end.
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By A Customer on 7 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
I wanted to dislike this so much: yet another lad writer, over-educated, young and with the sickeningly trite idea of marking everyone out of 100. Trouble was Lanigan is effortlessly funny, and incredibly sincere. His character instantly becomes a friend, his banter easy and comfortable, his plotlines cringingly well-observed. A stronger and much more likeable book than anything Hornby or Parsons has dreamed of, even Matthew Baylis, who does this pretty well in Stranger than Fulham, must concede precedence in this genre to Damian Lanigan. It pains me to say it but this does bear the comparisons with Kingsley Amis. Great stuff.
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By A Customer on 13 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
At first sight, you might think this is yet another addition to the swollen ranks of lad fiction, but it rises way out of that league. For a start, the jokes are geniunely funny (you laugh out loud in public places) and instead of the banal nihilism of so many other thirty something male novelists, there is a cleverly camouflaged romantic heart beating at the heart of this story, a hope for better things. The prose is sharp and never over-written, which is rare in first novels. Worth reading alone for the scene where a receptionist at a motorway motel tries to make sense of Chekhov.
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