Tag Archives: the liar

The Liar- Stephen Fry

This review was written 26/3/09

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Stephen Fry’s breathtakingly outrageous debut novel, by turns eccentric, shocking, brilliantly comic and achingly romantic. Adrian Healey is magnificently unprepared for the long littleness of life; unprepared too for the afternoon in Salzburg when he will witness the savage murder of a Hungarian violinist; unprepared to learn about the Mendax device; unprepared for more murders and wholly unprepared for the truth.


Firstly I’ll say The Liar was not really what I expected. The way it was written was really the only thing I had expected, it was the tone you recognise from Fry, and very cleverly written. I put the book on my list based on the synopsis on Amazon, which, while not untrue doesn’t really tell you what most of the book is about. Most of the book is about Adrian’s story of his life. From an all boy’s boarding school to an undergraduate at Cambridge. It’s interesting to read about these places and Fry writes with humour, I actually laughed out loud a few times. (highlight to view spoiler) Ultimately though it is a story about lies. About the lies Adrian tells about his life, about the whole situation he gets into being a lie, and the lies he tells along the way. How much is true, none of it? You find out towards the end that some bits have been a lie, but is that itself a lie? Something has to be a lie for something else to be true surely? Or maybe it is all a lie.

It was a great book and it still has me thinking (I think I have said before that that is a good sign). Just a quick warning that there are ome sex scences and mentions of sexual activity (both gay and straight) which I think may put some people off, although the descriptions aren’t graphic they do discuss a…seedier side of sex.

Added note (added 2/11/10): There is a lot of similarity between this book and Stephen Fry’s autobiography- Moab is my Washpot. Moab is my waspot is probably a bit of an easier read but The Liar is more exciting. If you’re after an introduction to Stephen Fry’s writing I’d probably go for Moab is my Washpot over The Liar but it’s still well worth reading both.


Filed under Contempory, Fiction review

Moab is my Washpot- Stephen Fry

Synopsis (written by me)

This is the autobiography of Stephen Fry’s first 20 years.


I really enjoyed this. It was so honest (sometimes brutally so) and unflinching. There were so many things it would have been easier for Fry to have left out, but that he included them shows a real bravery. I have always respected Stephen Fry for his intelligence, and his humour, and his way of managing to make so much sound interesting but somehow knowing he hasn’t always had it easy, and hasn’t always been the greatest person makes me respect him more. That he has gone through certain things, and has turned his whole life around. It would have been so easy to say he was young and stupid but he doesn’t try to excuse himself of anything, he knows he should have done better. I loved how he was so honest about his emotions throughout. He could have just written it as a this is what happened and made a book out of it but then I don’t think it would have been particularly special, emotion is something only an autobiography can fully do when writing about fact. At some points he went of on tangents, or even rants which lasted several pages. I suppose for some this could have been annoying but it made the book seem less manufactured to me and more like he was speaking to you. The only other of Fry’s books I have read is The Liar. I found that plot wise (if we can say an autobiography has a plot) The Liar carried along more nicely, but nobodies life is all action after all and considering that you didn’t really get bored with Moab is my Washpot. I did find this one easier to read in some ways though, they both had the same style of writing which was almost poetic, and they both had words or ideas that I found hard to grasp but I think part of what made The Liar was that it was meant to confuse whereas Moab is my Washpot was quite simple.


If anyone is interested I have written up a review for The Liar but wrote it before this blog started so t’s not on here. If people want to see it though I will post


Filed under Biography, non-fiction review