discovering all his books at once, i had a marathon few days digesting them all as thoroughly as possible, not wanting any to finish, but barely able to wait to start the next. this is characteristic of fry with his superb intelligence and wit and brilliant ability to hold us all to constant attention with such wonderful story telling skills, and bizarre imagination. just braw. loved it.
Really, really enjoyed this book! It's the first Stephen Fry book I've read and I found it (not surprisingly) to be a lot like a Wodehouse novel: upper class characters, estate house with many guests, first person narrative, fantastic use of language etc. However the comedy comes from the language alone - in contrast with the situation for most of the characters which is in fact quite serious, providing an interesting plot that keeps you turning the pages.
It's definitely the language and comments from Ted throughout that are the real highlight though. From simple laughs like the description of his cough as "something between a vomiting donkey and an explosion at a custard factory" and his concern for the "poor female rabbit-flea", to his 6 page sermon on the "fact that women do not enjoy sex" and his spirited defence of a poet's use of "rare words", it's an absolute joy to read.
I can't wait to read some more of Stephen Fry's books - I'm only concerned I may have started on a bit of a high that the others may struggle to match up to.
During a holiday in eastern Austria I borrowed this novel and read it very nearly cover-to-cover. Having hardly read a book written post-1950 for months, I was utterly delighted.
Fry has that pure love of language that all the best authors possess. The texture of a phrase, the imagery from a sentence - his adoration of the possibilities, humour and wash of words is tangible on every page.
In The Hippopotamus Fry has created a great anti-hero, a rum, self-concerned miser who one can not fail to like completely. The plot moves fairly quickly and amusingly, but the (actually rather good) story is not the attraction of this book. As I have said, Fry's love of language is what makes this compelling reading. That Fry is fond of Oscar Wilde is rather blatant. Small, unimportant witticisms are thrown in at any convenient time and plot-twists abound. It's a ferrero rocher book: there's not an awful lot of point in it, but it is sublimely delicious when you treat yourself to it.
Having not read any of his other books other than his utterly excellent autobiography, Moab Is My Washpot, The Hippopotamus has that complimentary but not entirely welcome quality of making me not want to read anything else he has done, lest it not be of as good a quality. When I finished the book (I think I read it within twenty-four hours) I spent the next hour fondly remembering it. It's one of those books.
You can pick up a copy on here for a penny plus postage. You really might as well.
I Have read all of Fry's fictional offerings and this is the sharpest, wittiest and most original. It tells the tale of a grubby old former journalist who goes for a weekend retreat in a country house with friends. Fry has a wicked imagination - the descriptions of how the youngster can cure all ills makes you laugh out loud. I felt some sorrow as I neared the end of the tome. Highly recommended.
I usually don't write reviews, but was compelled to after reading this book. As good as Fry has been on the screen, he is even better in his writing. I have never laughed out loud when reading a book, but this one had me on the floor at times. A book you must read if you like Fry's sitcoms. I can't recommend it strongly enough. Looking forward to read his other books now.
A book of great variety, wit, crudity and thought provoking ideas, that kept me entertained and amused. Not for the puritanical however. A clever book in an interesting format with good plotting and well read by the author.