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The Hippopotamus [Audio]

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Fresh, filthy, funny and fizzing with ideas' Ned Sherrin, Evening Standard

Promotional Information

'Fresh, filthy, funny and fizzing with ideas' Ned Sherrin, Evening Standard

About the Author

As well as being the bestselling author of four novels, The Stars' Tennis Balls, Making History, The Hippopotamus and The Liar, and the first volume of his autobiography, Moab is My Washpot, Fry has played Peter in Peter's Friends, Wilde in the film Wilde, Jeeves in the television series Jeeves & Wooster and (a closely guarded show-business secret, this) Laurie in the television series Fry & Laurie.


At the request of his godchild Jane, Ted Wallace visits an old friend's lavish English estate to check up on his other godchild, 15-year-old Davey, who is experimenting with faith healing. Ted, a failed poet, husband, father, and more, joins a strange group of guests at Swafford Hall. The guests drink and converse while Ted seeks to make sense of some rather bizarre goings-on. He solves the puzzle and inherits a fortune. Marvelous dialog enlivens a tale that is fraught with incest, bestiality, and English humor. Obviously, only for special tastes; purchase according to demand. [Author/actor Fry (The Liar, LJ 4/15/93) stars in I.Q., a Para-mount film that will be released early next year.-Ed.]-Robert H. Donahugh, formerly with Youngstown & Mahoning Cty. P.L., Ohio

"My goodness what fruity language Fry uses! You can feel his enjoyment, and also the huge force of hi desire to please you, as you read this." -- "William Leith, Mail on Sunday""One of the funniest people writing on either side of the a combination of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis but funnier than either." -- "Publishers Weekly""From the Hardcover edition."

English polymath Fry (actor, playwright, newspaper columnist, fledgling novelist) is one of the funniest people writing on either side of the Atlantic. His debut novel, The Liar, published here two years ago by Soho, was brilliantly comic but a bit disorganized. Now, apart from a tendency to shift perspectives rather unconvincingly (which criticism he gleefully anticipates in his hilariously crotchety foreword), he has matters firmly in hand. The hippo of his title is going-to-seed poet Ted Wallace, an aging lecher who drinks too much and is at odds, in his massively cantankerous way, with most of modern life. His ruminations, including achingly funny riffs on subjects as varied as how much more difficult sex is for men than for women, and why it's easier to be a composer or artist than a poet, are like a combination of Evelyn Waugh and Kingsley Amis but, because Fry is such a dazzling mimic and has a splendid ear for contemporary jargon, funnier than either. His plot is decidedly weird: Ted's goddaughter Jane, apparently cured of cancer by the gifts of a teenage son of a rich tycoon, sends Ted off to the tycoon's family seat in Norfolk to find out how the kid does it. In the end, of course, Ted does so, acting as a rather improbable detective, but only after a series of imaginative set pieces, including a scene with a horse that has to be read to be believed. Fry's wicked queenie patter in the persona of ``Mother'' Oliver is alone worth the price of the book. (Jan.)

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