What can you find here? Reviews of new and not quite so new Sherlock Holmes novels and collections. Interviews with authors, link to blogs worth following, links to where you can purchase my books and some reviews of my work garnered from Amazon sites. Plus a few scary pics of me and a link to various Lyme Regis videos on YouTube...see what we do here and how....and indeed why!!! Next to the Lyme Regis Video Bar is a Jeremy Brett as Holmes Video Bar and now a Ross K Video Bar. And stories and poems galore in the archives.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

David Nobbs's latest novel reviewed

David Nobbs is one of the UK's finest comic-novelists and the creator of many well-loved characters such as Reggie Perrin, Henry Pratt etc. A screenwriter of note for many TV shows,'The Fall and Rise of Gordon Coppinger' is his nineteenth novel. Its title is at once reminiscent of the entry of Reginald Iolanthe Perrin into the literary world some thirty-seven years ago. Are there parallels between the two men? Do the books share a common theme? First, I see the author's career as two distinct halves, from the early out and out comic novels (those that make you laugh out loud helplessly) to the novels which have comic moments. Perhaps that sounds too simplistic, but it's how I see his work. Even those 'out and out' comic novels have moments of beauty which move, (Ponsonby's death in 'Reggie', Percy's death in 'A Bit Of A Do'), there are lines which I re-read many times, so breathtaking they can be. The change came with 'Going Gently', a richly rewarding read (alliteration....can't beat it!) of the final days in an old woman's life and her review of her life and family. It's dark yet uplifting, sad with many richly comic moments. Further novels seemed to me to continue that trend away from the earlier dialogue-lead comic novels to novels which dealt more with the realities of life; in essence they did not rely solely on comedy for their enjoyment. Which takes us to Sir Gordon Coppinger. Whereas Reggie Perrin descended into a form of madness (or an alternative sanity), Sir Gordon falls into reality and sanity. There are great insights on what it's like to live your life in the glare of the public eye, to be 'adored' (not by waiters), to be feted and how quickly this can change when reality begins to crumble. To his amazement, as this 'fall' occurs he begins to find himself, the human being within as opposed to the caricature he has become. Along with the extremely well-written glimpses of family life, home life and sibling rivalries there are some exquisite moments between Sir Gordon and his butler, Farringdon. Farringdon is straight out of the Jeeves mould and his language is Wodehousian (up to a point!) and when writing comedy it can never be a bad thing to be reminded of Wodehouse. I still cannot tell you whether I felt any sympathy for Sir Gordon (perhaps we are not meant to). He is presented warts and all with all the weaknesses of any man and fortunately a few strengths too. 'The Fall and Rise of Gordon Coppinger' is a worthy addition to David Nobb's canon. It's involving and amply pays back the time that is spent in reading it. It's very well written as you would expect from this author and as much as I enjoy the earlier works ('Second From Last In The Sack Race' makes me laugh out loud more than any other book I have ever read!) I feel with each successive book David Nobbs grows more accomplished as a novelist, he didn't get where he is today by simply writing comedy. Highly recommended.

'The Fall and Rise of Gordon Coppinger' is available at more bookshops and websites than you can shake various sticks at.

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