Saturday, March 11, 2006

Let's have another list ...

Maxine Clarke, apprantly on a roll after house cleaning, brings this to our attention: Top Five Comic Novels?

I know Scoop and Jim - and Wodehouse, but not Psmith. And I know Cary Grant's portrayal of Mr. Blandings. The other one I don't know. Anthony Burgess's Enderby ought to be on any such list, I think.


  1. I mentioned on "Collected Miscellany" (site of posting linked to by Frank) that I laughed aloud at "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (Hunter Thompson), and at "E" by Matthew Beaumont.

    One thing about these two above novels, and about Collected Miscellany's list, and about humourous novels in general, is: are they products of their times? Is the humour limited by the context, or does it live on after the context has long been forgotten? (P G Wodehouse is perhaps a case-study: are the books of Jeeves/Wooster and Blandings still funny? I doubt I would find them so now but I laughed at them when I read them aged about 12.)

    I know that films and movies of these books can be funny in perpetuity as the director and scriptwriter can give them contemporary twists or a knowing interpretation. But the actual books themselves?

    Interested that Collected M. did not mention "3 men in a boat" which often crops up as a favourite funny book, though it isn't my cup of tea.

  2. It's tough to choose among so many excellent comic possibilities, but I guess I would plump for almost anything by Peter de Vries, and since "almost anything" is a cop-out, I would finally settle on "Reuben, Reuben." No, wait, "Tunnel of Love." No, wait. . . .