Wilt In Nowhere: (Wilt Series 4) Paperback – 7 Apr 2005
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One of the most impressive things about Wilt in Nowhere is that Tom Sharpe manages to go on being outrageous and funny after such a long career--after all, what does a satirist do when real world lifestyles and events exceed his wildest earlier inventions? The answer is, of course, that he just goes on making wonderful things up--this is the first novel about his quietly stroppy, lazy-as-hell college lecturer hero Wilt for 20 years, and Wilt is as funny in an era of e-mail and NHS cuts as he was back then.
There is also a gentle nostalgia in some of the writing here. Wilt's hike through the English countryside in early chapters has pastoral charm in patches as well as a sarcastic sense of rural dereliction. Sharpe's sense of rural American life is rather more broad-brush, but the damage inflicted on an obnoxious millionaire by Wilt's four terrifying daughters shows a sense of just how power works.
This is a gentler book than some of Sharpe's satires, but he still has all of his bitter irony intact; this is not the book of someone who has mellowed in later life. --Roz Kaveney -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Hardcover.
"Britain's leading practitioner of black humour" (Punch)
"Tom Sharpe serves up the loudest laughs in literary comedy ... He is the great post-Waugh humorist, the Wodehouse who dares plunge into the bottomless vulgarity and hysteria of our times, and a rattling good companion on a train journey." (Mail on Sunday)
"The funniest novelist writing today" (The Times)
"Tom Sharpe is back and he's on cracking form" (Daily Mail)
"One of the most widely enjoyed comic writers in Britain ... his position at the heart of British comedy is as assured as that of the seaside postcard" (Observer)
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Top Customer Reviews
So it's with heavy heart that I can confirm Sharpe's waning powers, based on the evidence presented by Wilt in Nowhere. The plotting devices and characterisations are as vivid as ever - Sharpe's instinct for farce is still as strong as ever. But the laughter is but a pale shadow of his finest achievements. The 1500 discarded pages must have made grim reading indeed if the final volume of Wilt's adventures is anything to go by.
The two separate plotlines - Eva and quads in the USA, Wilt on a walking tour and for much of the book in deep concussion, fails to add up to a coherent whole, and lacks much of the edge and sense of orchestrated debate displayed in earlier Wilt epics. If the moral of the tale is anywhere, Wilt in Nowhere says that taking an unambitious family holiday prevents chaos! Sharpe appears to said everything worth saying.
Furthermore, Wilt's arch adversary Inspector Flint has a comparatively minor role to play, though readers will be gratified to know his understanding of the Wilts is no greater now than ever before, albeit infinitely more advanced than his over-promoted peer, Hodge.
It's disappointing to see a once great writer well below his peak powers, and I wish Tom Sharpe a happy retirement. But I'd sooner remember him by earlier books, those that had me helpless with laughter.
While this is not up there with the classic Sharpe books, it still a decent read. In some respects this could have been written back in the 70s as half the characters still inhabit that timeless Tom Sharpe world where people still keep the words 'blighter' and 'swine' in their vocabulary and use them regularly. At the same time there are still characters with a more earthy choice of words, and you would not guess this was written by someone pushing 80.
The only real disappointment is that some of the set pieces are not developed as much as they could have been. For example, the hunting lodge with the sound system which could double as a weapon of mass destruction and the garden full of heavy weaponry: the scene is set for a major disaster, but it doesn't meet its potential.
The style is typical Sharpe, apart from a bit more restraint, but a slightly restrained Tom Sharpe is still a lot more riotous than most writers, so don't let it put you off.
By now, Henry Wilt and his wife Eve are suffering the behaviour problems of their four young-teen daughters (quads as it happens). W and with the cost of bringing them up being so high, Eve jumps at the offer of visiting a rich Uncle and Aunt in America, in the hope of impressing the childless couple to leave their considerable estate to the Wilt family. Henry of course immediately invents an excuse not to go to the US, and instead goes off on a misguided walking tour of the west of England. This provides Sharpe with two parallel stories and the novel jumps back and forth across the Atlantic as Wilt husband and wife generate equal measure of chaos in both nations.
Wilt takes no time in getting totally lost and finds himself wandering through sodden woodland with only a whisky bottle for company. Help arrives in the form of a pick up truck which deposits him at the home of a Conservative Minister and his appalling (of course!) wife. Meanwhile the quads are wreaking havoc in America, and it would be unfair of a reviewer to mention the sexual and criminal scandals that befall the elderly Uncle and Aunt as a result of providing hospitality to the accursed Wilts.
I find it is best not to read Tom Sharpe books on public transport in case of falling into giggling, snorting and general disturbance of the peace of my fellow passengers. He has the knack of generating total chaos for all his characters, and while the plot line is at times difficult to follow, by holding on tight to the car of this roller coaster, the reader is in for an invigorating ride, leading of course to the horrific water-splash at the end.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Should have given up on a high....Wilt on High. All were boring after.Published 2 months ago by Matt W
I love everything that he wrote. My copies I read over and over again and the paperback have fallen to bits.
I am now collecting them all again.
Once again Tom Sharpe has invented a ludicrous chain of events and passages so clever you have to savour them over and over.
I didn't want this tale to end ...
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Where did it all go wrong?.
I had this book for quite awhile before deciding to read it. Read more