Ted Wallace is an old, sour, womanising, cantankerous, whisky-sodden beast of a failed poet and drama critic, but he has his faults too. Fired from his newspaper, months behind on his alimony payments, and disgusted with a world that undervalues him, Ted seeks a few months repose and free drink at Swafford Hall, the country mansion of his old friend Lord Logan.
But strange things have been going on at Swafford. Miracles. Healings. Phenomena beyond the comprehension of a mud-caked hippopotamus like Ted....
©1994 Stephen Fry (P)1994 Random House Audio
A voracious reader from the age of five, I'm quite new to audiobooks, but looking forward to hearing some great stories. I loathe vampires.
Absolutely, because Stephen Fry brings the characters so fully to life.
The description of the events of the New Year's Day shooting party, from the point of view of two young boys.
Everything! Every character was distinct, even people who only had one line of dialogue.
These characters are the sort of people one prefers to watch from a safe distance, actually.
This is the first audiobook novel I've experienced, and I can't help but think that, as first reads go, this one sets the bar extremely high. If you've never had Stephen Fry read you a story, doing all the voices, you've really missed out. I listened to the first few chapters while out walking one day, and was thus obliged to perfect the finger-point that perfectly expresses "I'm not laughing at you, but the sounds in my ears" to strangers surprised by the eruption of snorts, hoots, and giggles as they approach or pass.
I could listen to Stephen Fry narrate a set of Ikea instructions, so it is not a surprise that his delivery and pace are just perfect here. He is able to change his voice very very subtly to convey information about each character - a slight accent for the character Michael, for example, and a slight softening for Jane. His narration makes the quite unlikeable Ted, quite loveable by the end.
I loved the character development and the way the story moved along. It is quite slow and the beginning as we are told about Ted's mission. However this allows us to get to know Ted well. In the beginning his profanity and sexism are quite shocking and seem very dated. However by the middle of the book the swearing seems as much a part of him as breathing. The book downloaded into 2 parts and they felt like very different books. The first set the scene and the second contains all the action. The ending was a complete surprise to me. I also like the insights that Ted gives about art and poetry and his own disappointment in his fading creativity.
I listened to his biography.
Michael. He is a true modern entrepreneur but his past and early life make him quite mysterious.
If you can get past the profanity and, of course, the sexual references, you are in for a treat. Ted turns out to be very sweet, sensitive and shrewd. The novel leaves the reader with lots to think about.
Yes. Well written and clever with superb story telling
Dunno, but it definatly has a very Fry-esque stamp on it.
A great story, funny from start to finish. I loved the reveal at the end. A great bunch of strange, pompous and eccentric characters without too much of Fry's own history (hopefully at least!) interwoven like some of his others. Very, very enjoyable and, of course, expertly read by the man himself.
"Story teller extraordinary"
Stephen Fry can do nothing wrong in my mind. This book is just another facet of his brilliance. A very clever, very sexy, very funny, totally compelling book. I will definitely listen to it again, probably more than once.
The unexpected twists. The characterisations.
Stephen Fry has the most incredible speaking voice and makes the characters live because he is also a brilliant actor.
Thoroughly enjoyable listen.
"Stephen Fry at his best"
This was beautifully written and narrated. A great story, couldn't stop listening, the aural equivalent of a page turner. Excellent characters, a great plot.
The twist, which I never suspected for a moment.
His wonderful speaking voice reading his own words. What could be better.
Stephen Fry has worked a miracle with this great story.
I was engrossed from start to finish. Stephen Fry narrated wonderfully. I think he gave something more t to the book that would have been missing had it been narrated by anyone else. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be eager to hear the next one. .
"Bit peculiar but good"
Really enjoyed it though has some very strange adult themes. Not for the faint hearted.
"A Stephen Fry classic"
As always, Stephen delivers a flawless performance. The story was interesting. ..bit odd. ..but it wouldn't be Fry without some gratuitous swearing and explicit sexual references.
"most entertaining drive to Italy!"
loved it especially Oliver. You can never have enough cock gags. Good story very skillfully read.
loved this. well written and very well read gives such life to the characters. There is a good story and it keeps your interest to the end when all is revealed almost in a who Dunnit style.
"Everything you'd expect from Stephen Fry"
Funny, humane, witty and brilliantly observed.
I thought I wouldn't like this after about 10 minutes because the primary character is so awful, but then I got drawn in to the story and couldn't switch off.
The writing is superb as always, and it's made magical by Fry's reading. He really is a great actor as well as author. There are very few authors who can read their own work convincingly, but Fry is one. I would recommend this to everyone who isn't a prude. Maiden aunts (if such people exist) might find some of the sexual stuff a bit startling, but it's all done with a witty kindness that didn't jar for a moment.
Lovely story, great listen.
"A dark but witty potrayal of upper class neuroses"
No, very rarely do I feel the need to re-listen to a story.
Stephen Fry's narration and characterisation of the lead character. The main character Ted is Fry's alter ego having a bad day.
There were a couple of graphic scenes, anyone who enjoyed the play Equus would adore this book.
The main narrative of the book fizzles out o be something of a damp squib. The appeal of the book is in the curmudgeonly main character Ted. Whilst not exactly a person you would warm to - his tirades against everyone and everything he encounters are hilarious and delivered with real conviction by Mr. Fry.
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