Pratt of the Argus, by David Nobbs

Follows on from Second from Last in the Sack Race: Henry's finished his national service and working at a provincial newspaper.

I tried to make some notes: it seems that part of the force of a fictional account is when it says something which makes you think "oh yes, I'd forgotten that, but it makes sense in the light of what's gone before" - i.e. making things in the book seem real because they're coherent. Actually I think this is particularly true of comic writing, so page 283 has:

They didn't talk during the applause, which wasn't nearly as loud as the singing. When Arnold 'Tree-Trunk' Nutley burst upon 'The Garden of Eden', proving that he couldn't sing like Frankie Vaughan, Henry and Tony resumed their discreet shouting.

page 346:

The condition of Henry Pratt, clattering northwards through the dark February evening, was as uncomfortable as could be expected...With his legs braced against the corridor wall he tried to read his vibrating copy of the Argus.

The trouble is I enjoy reading this so much it's hard to be objective and take notes.

Re-read in 2016.

I was more interested in Henry's romantic adventures than the scandal he was (ineptly) investigating.

It was funny that every single woman who was at all friendly to him, and some that weren't, immediately became objects of romantic fascination for him, no matter how compatible they might be. Women didn't seem to behave in the same way: they tended to be "sensible" and take control of the situation and explain that things wouldn't work out.

Some things I highlighted

Auntie Doris emerged from the staff quarters behind the desk. She was in her mid-fifties now. Age wasn't withering her charms. It was just making it more expensive to maintain them.
'Mrs Wedderburn's three sons are very good to her and have her in turn on a strict rota system.'
Henry found it hard to imagine that Mrs Wedderburn had ever made love three times.
'Are they triplets?' he asked.
'Whatever makes you say that?'

Really good, if maybe not quite as good as the first one.

Completed : 17-Dec-2007

Completed : 29-Jun-2016

[nickoh] [2007 books] [2016 books] [books homepage]