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The Liar


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The brilliant and outrageous debut novel from British actor, comedian, author, presenter, journalist and national treasure, Stephen Fry.

About the Author

Stephen Fry was born in Hampstead in 1957 and, following a troubled adolescence, went on to study English Literature at Queen's College, Cambridge. As well as being the bestselling author of four novels, The Stars' Tennis Balls, Making History, The Hippopotamus, and The Liar, and two volumes of his autobiography, Fry played Peter in Peter's Friends, Wilde in the film Wilde, Jeeves in the television series Jeeves & Wooster and (a closely guarded show-business secret, this) Laurie in the television series Fry & Laurie. More recently, he presented Stephen Fry- The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, his groundbreaking documentary on bipolar disorder, to huge critical acclaim. And his legions of fans tune in to watch him host the popular quiz show QI each week.


British comedian and actor Fry (currently appearing in Kenneth Branagh's Peter's Friends ) has written a witty first novel about the adventures of Adrian Healey, a British schoolboy and ``the liar'' of the title. Adrian is an amusing, if appalling, character, and readers will enjoy following him as he develops from a lovesick teenager wih a ``pash'' on fellow student Hugo Cartwright to a Cambridge undergraduate involved in international espionage. There are interludes along the way involving, among other things, sex, suicide, Piccadilly rent-boys, and a ``lost'' pornographic novel by Charles Dickens. This is a clever and entertaining novel that will appeal to Anglophiles with a twisted sense of humor. Recommended for public libraries.-- Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., Mass.

Fry is a British polymath--actor, journalist, playwright--who is currently on view here as the eponymous hero of the Kenneth Branagh movie Peter's Friends . This book, his first novel, was a huge critical and popular success in Britain in both cloth and paperback, and it is surprising that the book has taken almost two years to make its way across the Atlantic. Perhaps part of the reason is its obsession with such arcanely British things as public school life, Cambridge academia and cricket. But it is coruscatingly funny, often quite shocking and profoundly irreverent. Its hero is Adrian Healey, who assumes a wildly gay persona (and is one of the few Wilde imitators who can verbally live up to the original) but whose besetting problem is a lack of contact with reality. Everything he does and says is a sly concoction, from his outre behavior at school and college to his period as a male prostitute (``rent-boy'') in London to his schoolteaching days and his eventual involvement, with his college tutor, in a bizarre espionage caper involving a Hungarian ``truth machine.'' The plot is in fact deliberately confusing and quite inconsequential. The book is enjoyable for its verbal dexterity, its often filthy but usually hilarious jokes and its reckless high spirits. Some readers may flinch from its callousness; many more will find themselves helpless with laughter. (May)

A quite brilliant first novel * Sunday Times *
The Liar is hilarious - page after page of the most outrageous and often filthy jokes, delicious conceits, instant, brilliant ripostes that would only occur to ordinary mortals after days of teeth-grinding lunacy * Literary Review *
Brilliantly entertaining and consistently outrageous * Daily Mail *
Sublime * Cosmopolitan *

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