Tag: Television Personality

Stephen Fry – The Fry Chronicles | Review

Title: The Fry Chronicles

Author: Stephen Fry

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 446

Rating: 9/10

 

Stephen Fry - The Fry Chronicles

Stephen Fry – The Fry Chronicles

 

The Fry Chronicles is the second autobiography from the pen of Stephen Fry, the British icon who’s more well-known as a television personality than as an author, despite the fact that he’s released half a dozen books of both fiction and non-fiction. He first cut his teeth writing sketches for A Bit of Fry and Laurie, which is (in my opinion) one of the cleverest and most well-written comedy sketch shows of all time.

In fact, he covers off the formative years of his relationship with comedy partner Hugh Laurie in the Fry Chronicles, as well as his meetings with dozens of other luminaries including Rowan Atkinson and Emma Thompson. It was published nearly twenty years after Fry’s first book, a novel called ‘The Liar‘ which was also autobiographical in places, and his writing style has developed and matured over the years. Now, he’s a truly talented writer with a unique voice and a wit and wisdom of his own.

Fry’s writing is complimented perfectly by a series of photographs from the author’s own archives, that detail everything from the young Fry and his parents (who look exactly like him) to “the backlit ears of Hugh Laurie” and posters and pictures of some of Fry’s earliest productions. In fact, in sharp contrast to Moab is my Washpot, Fry’s first autobiography which covered the first twenty years of his life, there’s a lot to learn here about Fry’s actual career.

 

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry

 

As it goes, The Fry Chronicles is one of the more interesting celebrity autobiographies on the market, even if it is occasionally patchy in places; Fry also has a tendency to name-drop wherever possible, although it’s not really necessary as he’s a bigger star than most of the people that he mentions. In many ways, though, that’s forgivable – he’s just the sort of person who mingles with celebrities and minor royalty alike, and it’s probably due to his background at Cambridge.

The Fry Chronicles is interesting because the author used the letter ‘C‘ as a narrative device – all of his chapters begin with the letter ‘C”, ending on ‘cocaine‘ at his 30th birthday. I understand that this is a topic that he plans to deal with later in further detail, in a third volume of autobiography to be released at a later date. I look forward to reading it with some gusto, because if The Fry Chronicles and Moab is my Washpot are anything to go by, it’s going to be good. You should catch up with the series, before he writes and releases another one.

 

Stephen Fry On Ignorance

Stephen Fry On Ignorance

 

Click here to buy The Fry Chronicles.

 


Stephen Fry – The Hippopotamus | Review

Title: The Hippopotamus

Author: Stephen Fry

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 399

Rating: 7/10

 

Stephen Fry - The Hippopotamus

Stephen Fry – The Hippopotamus

 

The Hippopotamus is an interesting insight in to the way in which Stephen Fry sees the world, the second novel of the comedian and television personality who’s earned a rightful place in the hearts of the British public. It might not be as strong as some of his other work, but it’s certainly a lot better than the endless slew of ghostwritten rubbish that seems to spew forth from most modern celebrities.

The titular hippopotamus of the novel is a cantankerous old poet who’s past the pinnacle of his career, a lecherous man who’s given to wallowing in long baths like the hippopotami that inspired him. The novel largely follows his exploits as he investigates some bizarre goings on, reporting back to his goddaughter Jane, who suffers from Leukemia – it’s actually a heartwarming story, despite the fact that you initially worry that the main character is simultaneously unpleasant and fundamentally unlikeable.

The Hippopotamus might not be Fry’s strongest work, but it does still lay claim to a certain amount of inventiveness and it contains the usual wit and wisdom that we’ve come to expect from him. Like with most novelists‘ early works, there’s both the signs of future potential and also some worrying gaps in the narrative that leave the reader to un-suspend their disbelief and let their mind wander off to other places.

 

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry

 

That said, Fry uses the letters of Ted Wallace, the hippopotamus poet himself, to great effect – as a literary device, they remind me of the diary entries of Jonathon Harker in Dracula. It’s all too easy for a writer to drift in to using this technique as a gimmick, but Fry puts it to good use and it actually breaks the novel up in to manageable segments, which is great if you plan to read it in the evenings before bed.

All in all, this isn’t the immortal novel of a classic writer like Hemingway, Dickens or Graham Greene; this is a pretty good piece of fiction from a guy who’s already proved himself to have a way with words. I’m not going to lie, there are better Fry novels out there – Making History stands out, and some of his non-fiction is fantastic as well. Still, it’s worth reading if you’re a fan of his work.

 

Stephen Fry Quote

Stephen Fry Quote

 

Click here to buy The Hippopotamus.

 


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