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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 7 May 2005
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.
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on 13 March 2007
I can only describe the twists and turns that this book takes as shocking. Not hit you in the face shocking, but enough to make me hitch my breath as I travelled out of London on the train.

Fry is simply delicious in his writing style - clever, sharp and descriptive only to the point of necessity.

Not as outlandish and fiesty as the Star's Tennis Balls, but certainly a pleasant (if bizarre) surprise.
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on 17 February 2000
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.
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on 18 August 2006
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.
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on 12 December 2001
Like all of Fry's novels this one will leave you feeling as if you've just had 5 Harrier jets fly inches over your head, which is something that leaves you understandably breathless at the time and is an experience that you are unlikely to forget for a while. His attention to detail (both linguistically and in terms of content) is unbelievable and the story itself ranges from the bizzare to the downright naughty. The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry is an absolute must for anybody with a sense of humour and a couple of afternoons to spare.
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on 21 August 2002
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.
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on 23 June 1999
Ted Dexter is a Scotch-soaked has-been of a poet and hack, who is called in to investigate a young boy with healing hands. Sound daft to you ? Yes, and deliciously so. This is Stephen Fry's second novel and believe me it doesn't dissappoint. If you annoyed crowded airport lounges with your incessant laughter when reading "The Liar", get ready for the same askance looks. "The Hippopotamus" is out of the same mould, which doesn't for one minute mean it's a re-hash of the first novel, but that it is characterised by the same brilliant intelligence and wit. The story is again convoluted with many a change of direction (where does the man get his ideas from ?) and wincingly sharp and witty characterisations. Amongst the smooth and crafted prose there is many a hidden philosophical gem too - in particular the best two-page summary I've ever read on why women don't like sex. Like "The Liar" there is a twist in the tail which keeps you guessing up until the end. Much is made of the unputdownability of a book these days but I am delighted to say that I put this one down on many an occasion just to make it last longer - before picking it straight up again because I couldn't wait for the next bit. - Matthew Salter
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on 30 November 2005
Fry has done it again. It think this book is even better than The Liar. It doesn't deliver the constant laughs that The Liar did, but it works better on multiple levels as a comedic novel, gender satire, social and political commentary. Outstanding.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 January 2016
I really struggle to write reviews on fiction books as I don't want to give the plot line away to anyone thinking of buying it themselves - that would be a bit like just telling them what happens on the last page so instead, I'll just say if you've ever read or listened to any Stephen Fry before and loved him, you certainly won't be disappointed in this one, and if you've not come across any Fry, where have you been? Go buy one now, you won't regret it! In this one, Fry keeps to his usual style of wit, sarcasm and humour all rolled into every paragraph he writes and this is a typical Fry book in that you better make yourself comfortable because once you've picked it up, you're not going to want to put it back down again until you've finished it. Perfect for listening to in the car on those long journeys as long as you don't mind the people sitting in the car next to you wondering what on earth you're laughing at whilst you're sat going nowhere on the M25 if you purchased the audio version (I actually got both the book and the CD)
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on 3 January 2008
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.
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