Tennyson's Gift Paperback – 10 Jun 2004
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Farce is one of the hardest literary forms to bring off: in Tennyson's Gift Lynne Truss manages the correct combination of inventiveness, planning and energy. All of her historical figures have fixed ideas that make them act against their own best interests--Tennyson is paranoid about reviews and photographs and Lewis Carroll is a snob fascinated by photography and small girls; the painter Watts agonises about past betrayals while ignoring his young actress wife Ellen Terry.
This is all the more a tour-de-force because Truss knows her material well enough to make much of the comic exaggeration come from things that were actually the case--the Tennysons spent their time on the Isle of Wight desperately hoping for a royal visit. She adds to the mix a phrenologist with an obnoxious child and a writer of anonymous letters, so that the sections of this novel continually build up comic intensity.
Most of the comedy here comes from excellent structure and timing and only in part from our preparedness to view eminent Victorians with the condescension of hindsight; this is an extravaganza with its roots in good sense and a fascination with the famous dead as they actually were. --Roz Kaveney
A comic novel of subtle distinction ... richly entertaining and at times very moving. -- The Times
An enormously entertaining novel, with terrific writing throughout. -- The Sunday Telegraph
Exuberant and funny...it all folds together into a well constructed farce, buoyant, affectionate and wise. -- Frances Spalding, Times Educational Supplement
Terrific...Tennyson's Gift is witty, surprising, oddly compassionate and hugely assured. -- The Sunday Times
The perfect summer book. No deck-chair will be complete without it. -- The Independent
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This came highly recommended but I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped.
Rather 'Fey' and I did not take to the style of writing.
I've just worked my way through all of LT's books and think this was by far the best. I didn't know much about some of the characters but that hardly mattered! Read morePublished on 21 Jun. 2014 by Alison Hart
This title was suggested as one for our local book club. Found the first few chapters boring but later in the book some aspects quite amusing and interesting to learn so many... Read morePublished on 30 Jan. 2013 by Mrs Susan J Davis
This is by far the best book Lynne Truss has written. The characters are strong and the imagery she conjours up is brilliant. Read morePublished on 10 Oct. 2006 by propertyofsir