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What a horrible unpleasant book. I couldn’t finish it. I think Stephen Fry is very very funny and has a terrific command of the English language and writes really well, however the subject matter and experiences related in this book are grossly obscene,unpleasant and do not do his talents justice in any way! Don’t bother reading it.
Oh dear. An unlikable central character, a parade of middle class English cliches (as the minor characters) and a plot that blunders about like a drunk man looking for his flies. It takes until about halfway in before anything vaguely coherent appears, and unlike great writers, the lead up to the central plot's emergence is not, despite other reviews, worth the wait. If you want a genuinely funny Oxbridge novel, try Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe.
I first read this, and enormously enjoyed it, about 25 years ago. This time I still liked it but could see it’s flaws a bit more clearly. It’s very entertaining and the characters are vivid and amusing, but it feels a bit disjointed - the school section is a moving, funny and obviously autobiographical coming-of-age story but the whole spy angle is a bit laboured, I think. Overall, I still very much enjoyed re-reading but some of the sheen has come off.
Great, unbelievably rich, beautifully constructed. Why have I never read it before? Stephen Fry has all the ability to draw from his past, utilize his enormous intellect and produce a fiction that is both ultra-sophisticated and ultra-readable - a great page turner. Only someone like Stephen Fry could produce such an interwoven plot and timeline and not confuse his audience. Just couldn't put it down.