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Ancestral Vices Ancestral VicesNot everything that counts can be measured.Not everything that can be measured counts.Albert EinsteinAncestral Vices by Tom Sharpe is another hilarious spoof about our brothers of higher learning Tom Sharpe s articulation and enormous vocabulary is again put to good use in his depiction of a college professor and university lecturer In the well established tradition of Sharpe s Wilt series, he brings rip roaring laughter both in and out of the classroom Ancestral Vices main cha Ancestral VicesNot everything that counts can be measured.Not everything that can be measured counts.Albert EinsteinAncestral Vices by Tom Sharpe is another hilarious spoof about our brothers of higher learning Tom Sharpe s articulation and enormous vocabulary is again put to good use in his depiction of a college professor and university lecturer In the well established tradition of Sharpe s Wilt series, he brings rip roaring laughter both in and out of the classroom Ancestral Vices main character, Professor Walden Yapp, is an unworldly academic and egalitarian that has been given carte blanche by an old and notorious English industrialist to write his family s tarnished history The story winds through an array of colorful characters, entailing dwarficide and a simple man s false delusion that the truth always prevails.As a fledgling sexagenarian I ve grown to love the enormous diversity of the English language and Tom Sharpe is a true master in the use of that language There are many many better Tom Sharpe books Read this for completeness, but do not start here The farce kicked off pretty early on, about 100 pages in The master mind behind the action is Lord Petrefact who is loathed by all and sundry with very good reason One of my favourite sequences in the novel involves a mechanised Victorian bath, a professor and a runaway wheelchair In many ways it reminded me of Pratchett without the fantasy element.The tag line on the front cover describes the novel as savage and it is just that I couldn t help but feel immense pity for Professor Yapp who The farce kicked off pretty early on, about 100 pages in The master mind behind the action is Lord Petrefact who is loathed by all and sundry with very good reason One of my favourite sequences in the novel involves a mechanised Victorian bath, a professor and a runaway wheelchair In many ways it reminded me of Pratchett without the fantasy element.The tag line on the front cover describes the novel as savage and it is just that I couldn t help but feel immense pity for Professor Yapp who is sucked into Lord Petrefact s machinations in the most awful way.Sharpe writes from the perspective that life is cruel and always will be He does this by visiting dreadful consequences on Yapp for his involvement in Lord Petrefact s machinations then uses Emmelia Petrefact s character to ram the point home.If you like cynical, sharp, witty and insightful writing then I recommend you read this Sharpe has been on my reading list for years and I m glad I ve finally got round to him Now I ve got him in my system I doubt I ll be able to get him out This is the second time I ve read this book The first occasion wasthan thirty years ago and has always sat in the back of mind as an enjoyable read I was not disappointed the second time around.The story is beyond all reality but totally enjoyable and funny The characters may be caricatures but that is what makes it so enjoyable It is definitely black comedy and sure to be offensive to some, that is in part what the book pokes fun at.This was the first Tom Sharpe novel I ever read and This is the second time I ve read this book The first occasion wasthan thirty years ago and has always sat in the back of mind as an enjoyable read I was not disappointed the second time around.The story is beyond all reality but totally enjoyable and funny The characters may be caricatures but that is what makes it so enjoyable It is definitely black comedy and sure to be offensive to some, that is in part what the book pokes fun at.This was the first Tom Sharpe novel I ever read and because of it I have gone on to read nearly all his other books My next book thanks to the recommendation of GR friend Griselda Starting tonight My copy is an elderly but not much used inter library library hardbound edition from the Boston Public Library Doesn t look like it s been checked out much.Started this last night and, indeed, the author had me laughing out loud a few times At times an intended funny thing fell flat in the face of my own prejudices, but I am enjoying myself There s a bit of Basil Fawlty in the character of Prof Walden Yapp My next book thanks to the recommendation of GR friend Griselda Starting tonight My copy is an elderly but not much used inter library library hardbound edition from the Boston Public Library Doesn t look like it s been checked out much.Started this last night and, indeed, the author had me laughing out loud a few times At times an intended funny thing fell flat in the face of my own prejudices, but I am enjoying myself There s a bit of Basil Fawlty in the character of Prof Walden Yapp For myself, I was never a BIG fan of Fawlty Towers This seems funnier Not being British, I suspect I m missing some of this stuff, but I m hanging in there.Lord Petrefact Montgomery Burns and Croxley Smithers Some suggestion of The World According to Garp can t remember where What s a twin set A cardigan worn over a pullover jersey Usually the same color I could do without the poopy stuff My prejudice I guess.No big yucks last night, butof a plot kicked in The sexual confusion scene wasn t particularly amusing, but it was interesting to read what Walden s TRUE feelings for Mr Coppett are as she suddenly becomes MUCHcompelling to him SEX Again, only a couple of guffaws during last night s reading, and I m less than convinced that the remainder will be any better The author has veered into the theatre of the cruel and absurd with the fate of the unfortunate Willie and it looks like much suffering is due to fall upon the scrawny shoulders of Prof Yapp as well We ll see BTW, I don t find the manufacturing of sex toys and other related items to be inherently amusing, but then, I m not British BTW 2 I m reminded that the seemingly sexless, out to lunch, Ichabod like academic or something related is a pretty standard figure in British comedy.Finished last night as the laughs tended to evaporate in barely amusing plot foolishness and overreach The car wash thing the comic high point of the second half Really NOBODY is THAT stupid The supposed satire of this book seemed at timeslike axe grinding Seems like the author was after various targets the British class system, the British justice system, the British higher education system etc Anyway I can t bring myself to rate this a 2 , so I ll say 2.75 rounding up to 3 and let it go A disappointment Even despite the rushed ending, this is one of the absolute best farces I ve ever read. After a quiet start this develops into a brilliant satyrical farce on the higher education of the time and on business There s some great dark humour, a dash of dark slapstick and a chunk of insight Times have changed, and this is a book of its time, but I still really enjoyed it Tom Sharpe is a master of taking the mickey. This title involves left wing academics, right wing capitalists, true blue country gentry, workers, peasants, police and lawyers Hilarious Highly recommended. A friend lent me this ages ago, and i ve finally got round to reading it You ll have it back soon Christiana With Mrs Thatcher s death bringing back to my mind all things eighties, reading this book, released in 1980 took me back to that world Militant Left Wingers, Right Wingers, Old Money, the class war, all those things which seemed to matter then but maybe not as much nowadays It s a farce, a form i m not too familiar with There are no heroes, all those involved seem to be a combination A friend lent me this ages ago, and i ve finally got round to reading it You ll have it back soon Christiana With Mrs Thatcher s death bringing back to my mind all things eighties, reading this book, released in 1980 took me back to that world Militant Left Wingers, Right Wingers, Old Money, the class war, all those things which seemed to matter then but maybe not as much nowadays It s a farce, a form i m not too familiar with There are no heroes, all those involved seem to be a combination of either stupid or nasty, and very few seem to me to have good intentions at all I dread books with wacky covers, and you will laugh at loud testimonials on the back To date, i ve only laughed out loud at one book, one of the Reggie Perrin books as you ask, and that remains the case.It s not right for me to judge it 30 years on, i ve not aged too well either i m sure it was funny when it was written, but what i most took from it was how much the country had changed The past is also indeed a foreign country


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