Tuesday, May 31, 2011

VILE BODIES - Evelyn Waugh

If you have ever wondered where Monty Python got their idea of the absurd, you only have to read this book and its all there.

This is a book full of preposturous characters in improbable situations. The main characters are wealthy and bored and dense, who live a life going from party to party trying to avoid boredom, with no responsibility.

There was such a class in Britain between the wars and there may still be, but Waugh is just scathing of this type and group. Brilliant

This is very very funny and like I stated a blueprint for the Pythons.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


No matter how down you were to get, read a Wodehouse and you will instantly feel so much better.

Wodehouse- land is a place where nothing too nasty happens, mishaps and mistakes but thats all and through any story you laugh out loud, really out loud, which is emabarrassing if you are out having a coffee and reading.

This Jeeves story has Bertie avoiding a severe thrashing most of the time after improbably stealing another mans woman. All the usual machinations until all is settled by Jeeves.

Just wonderful stories, wonderfully written and hilarious.


This was Ross Thomas's first novel and he won an Edgar Award first up.

Set in Post WWII Germany it is also the first appearance of bar owners McCorkle and Padillo. These two make several later appearances in Thomas books.

Padillio is a CIA type asset working in East Germany and uses the bar as a cover.

A good plot ,with out the humour of his later books ,but right from this first effort Thomas was going to be a master.

You can't buy these books of Thomas's in New Zealand, which is a crime, they have to be imported. The author died in 1995 and shamefully the books were allowed to go out of print.

These editions have been printed by a small US imprint and they are great.


Another drug and alcohol fueled Sughrue adventure looking for a well known Republicans wife, who has gone missing.

The plot includes the usual rag tag bunch of druggies, bikers and women.

Although this is as violent as all of Crumleys work it has a lot more humour in it due to the plot being way over the top.

A lot of fun.


The first outing of Thomas's characters, Artie Wu and Quincey Durant.

Ross Thomas has never written a bad sentence, so there is no way there is anything wrong with this thriller involving millions in cash hidden at the end of the Vietnam War.

Set in Los Angles we have all the usual humour and intrigue from the master.


THE RAZORS EDGE - W.Somerset Maugham

Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the "absolute" - spiritually.

This quest begins after his experiences in The Great War. It involves his fiancee and other characters who he takes part of the way in his desire to find " the meaning of life".

I enjoyed this, Maugham has his critics in regard his limited vocabulary and other niggles, but I enjoy his writing and he certainly understands humans.

Well worth reading.


This has been described as the greatest novel ever written by many down through the years.

I have read it, enjoyed the majority of it but it is not the greatest novel I have ever read according to me.

The writing is superb but like all novels that were originally serialized its a bit big.

There are two complete novels in this , and I enjoyed Levin's story much more than Anna's. The descriptions of Levin's life on the farm are some of the best I have ever read, completely draws you in.

Anna comes across as a spoiled,silly woman whose story does nothing for me.

So, I have read it but it was not the revelation that was promised to me.