October 16th, 2013

The Librarian

Even-day series of the somewhat warped variety ...

The late Tom Sharpe had a rather unique style of fiction ... hilarious and dark and somewhat pervy and well, sharp, just like the name on the author says. I've seen him compared to Wodehouse and all I can say is, er ... sure, on the pacing of the humour and multiple plot threads that all intersect at the end, but only if the story also includes Jeeves and Wooster in a compromising position with with unusual sex toys (either with each other or with other parties of any random gender/preference) and then one or more of the involved parties suffers an bizarre and messy death and/or gets framed for committing same.

So from that you can gather that Sharpe ain't family reading and there will never be Saturday morning cartoons based on his books (I sure hope not, anyway). What he is is no-holds-barred really good stories that keep one reading mainly because they ARE good stories and, to be honest, because part of one's brain is curious to see just how far he'll go (answer: damned! far). The only true series within Sharpe's novels are the Wilt books. Henry Wilt is a college instructor who dislikes his job, his wife, and (once he has some) his children, and yet at the same time clings to and defends 'em. He's a very strange man (well, heck, he's a Sharpe character) who actually is smarter than most of the people around him (a major reason for his dislikes) and a tendency to use his intelligence in ways he really shouldn't. Take the first novel, for instance ... pissed off at both his wife and at circumstances that led to a practical joke involving a blow-up sex doll being played on him, he gets the thing out of his system by enacting a drunken fantasy of doing away with his wife by elaborately "murdering" the doll. And then ends up accused of actually killing his wife thanks to evidence he left behind and being unable to prove that she actually did take off because she was angry with him. Knowing that Eva will turn up eventually, disproving the whole thing, he takes to amusing himself by playing headgames with the police during his interviews. After that things get (hilariously) strange ...
From "Wilt":
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The Wilt books, in order, are:
The Wilt Alternative
Wilt on High
Wilt in Nowhere
The Wilt Inheritance (to be honest, I recommend skipping this final volume even though I've listed it ... it's one of the last few books that Sharpe wrote and while those all started well with the usual bizarre buildup of plotlines, when it came to resolution ... well, they read as if he'd been defanged, which is not how I like to remember an author who in his day could be depended on to leave a few rather twisted scars on one's brain)