I have enjoyed all Stephen Fry's novels and I especially loved his autobiography, so I looked forward to reading 'Paperweight' with relish. However, I was rather disappointed. I found the first part of the book (consisting of the ramblings of Donald Trefusis and other characters) to be entirely boring and I found myself skipping pages to avoid reading them. I was much relieved to find that the later articles and musings of Stephen Fry were just as I'd come to expect of the author! Thankfully, I found myself laughing out loud at several of his opinions and ideas and I read with wonder, the many long-winded and unheard of (by me, anyway!) words, contemplating where on earth they had originated from! From here onwards, I found I had to keep picking the book up in order to read a little further, until I had reached the end. Apart from the seemingly boring beginning, this is a book for lovers of Stephen Fry.
Readers will find themselves mentally adopting the tone and style of Stephen Fry as heard on tv and radio as they read this book. It is a collection of essays submitted in fact or fancy to various publications or broadcasts and I would defy anyone not to find something funny in it.
But, then, you wouldn't buy a book just to find ONE funny item in it and "Paperweight" is liberally sprinkled with humour. It would serve no purpose to try to find an example of an amusing anecdote since it would be taken out of context; if you regard yourself as an admirer of Stephen Fry, it would be best to gamble a fraction of your no doubt hard earned income, and buy the thing.
Only one thing annoyed me - and annoyed me greatly: Stephen, in common with many of his compatriots, refers (more than once) to inhabitants of the United Kingdom as "English". As in "English [army] camp", "English tug-of-war team", "..second strongest chess country on Earth is England.." I have no doubt that inhabitants of the part of the British Isles that is called England won't even have noticed these mistakes, but they do tend to inflame the anger of the other nationalities within the aforementioned Kingdom and a proof-reader should have picked them up. Or don't they employ proof-readers now that every author and his dog has a home computer and can send their copy to the publisher by e-mail?
It was very embarassing reading this on the plane to Moscow because I couldn't stop giggling and the American sitting next to me kept giving me funny looks. I especially liked the options Trefusis gave himself for the manner of his death! This really is a very funny book but take Mr. Fry's advice and don't try to read it all in one go, it's at its best when read bit by bit.