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Christopher Fowler
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Witty writers fall into three groups; first there are those who set their stories within a recognisable world and pass comment upon its flaws. The most instantly graspable of these in my chemo-raddled brain is Tom Wolfe's super-zeitgeisty 'Bonfire of the Vanities', his brilliant satire on American society in the 1980s. Like other great social comedies it hinges around a single event that pulls at…
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Christopher Fowler
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Time and again I'm drawn back to PG Wodehouse when I feel a little low. In that spirit, this column is an amalgam of previous articles together with new observations on an eternally amusing author. 'Isn't it all just upper class stuff?' asked a friend. 'Who needs that now?' No, it's not, I told him. That's just the setting, in the same way that someone like the superbly funny Jonathan Coe might…
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Christopher Fowler
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Publishers see writers' work falling into distinct categories. Unfortunately real life isn't subdivided into genres, so we create false constructs - drama, comedy, romance, horror. The recent Channel 4 police series 'Babylon' only found its feet once it had decided whether it was funny or serious. It was billed as a comedy about the police and the media, but apart from a few self-conscious chunks…
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Reading & Writing
If a book can make you snort coffee out of your nose in Starbucks, I'd say it was a pretty funny one. Starbucks coffee is quite horrible, and the thought of it coursing down your nasal passages is a less than pleasant prospect. But if I had to pick the funniest writer in the world, I wouldn't think for one second. Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (15 October 1881 — 14 February 1975) never intended…
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Christopher Fowler
There's been a lot of talk recently about awards going to books with comedy elements. The Booker, always famously po-faced about its selections, is lightening up - so is comedy finally to be accepted as a valid artistic tool? I'm a proud past winner of the Last Laugh award for the year's best comedy crime novel, because the Bryant & May books have funny elements - but let's be careful here. The…
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