RAH Humor Review:
by Dave Bealer
This review first appeared in the November 1994 issue of Random Access
Copyright © 1994 Dave Bealer, All Rights Reserved.
Stephen Fry is best known as a comic actor. He appeared as Melchitt in the
various "Blackadder" series and is half of the popular English comedy team
of Fry and Laurie. As of 1991 Stephen Fry is also a published novelist.
The Liar was a #1 bestseller in England but hasn't done as well in
North America, which is a bit of a shame.
One of the reasons for the book's failure over here is it's fairly
bawdy nature. Even worse, most of the sex is homosexual in nature.
Much of England is still mired in the Victorian era as far as sex
is concerned. Of course that puts them light-years ahead of the
United States, which is still saddled with the Puritans.
The Liar follows the public school (an English euphemism for their
most exclusive private schools) and college career of Adrian Healey, an
upper middle class English youth who happens to be a pathological liar.
Anyone who goes into this expecting a Jon Lovitz-like treatment of the
character type will be bitterly disappointed and more than a little confused.
This is a thoroughly English novel, full of English idioms. Fry's use of
language is reminiscent of Oscar Wilde, and demonstrates yet again that a good
English writer will always sound "better," or at least more sophisticated,
than a writer of any other nationality who happens to be writing in English.
For those anglophiles who can handle it, this novel provides a biting
satirical look at several levels of English society as they existed 20 years
ago. From the meat markets of Piccadilly to Lord's Cricket Ground, Adrian
Healey gets around...or at least he claims to.
The Liar by Stephen Fry. ISBN: 0-939149-82-6
Published by Soho Press, 853 Broadway, New York, NY. 10003
Dave Bealer is a fifty-something mainframe systems programmer who
works with CICS, z/OS and all manner of nasty acronyms at one of the
largest heavy metal shops on the East Coast. He shares a waterfront
townhome in Pasadena, MD. with a cat who annoys him endlessly as he
assiduously avoids writing for and publishing Random Access Humor.
Dave can be reached via e-mail at:
Lesser artists borrow. Great artists steal.