Thursday, June 06, 2013

Remembering Tom Sharpe

I was sorry to hear of the death of the comic novelist Tom Sharpe. I read him avidly when I was a student and recall that in those far-off days he was taken very seriously by the critics. As Robert McCrum says in his tribute on the Guardian Books Blog: "For a while, he was spoken of as the heir to Wodehouse and Waugh."

Sharpe wrote his first two novels about South Africa and his violent comic sensibility was conditioned by the cruelty and absurdity of life there. In Britain he found his most rewarding targets in our ancient institutions, which half attracted and half appalled him.

My own favourite is Blott on the Landscape, in part because of its Shropshire setting. It was adapted for television in 1985 and featured terrific performances from the then little-known David Suchet and Geraldine James.

I was going to post a clip from it, but can only find complete episodes, which would be cheating. So buy the DVD.

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