divendres, 31 de gener de 2014

"The Wilt Alternative", Tom Sharpe

The Wilt Alternative
Tom Sharpe, 1979
Cornerstone digital -ebook-

Henry Wilt has a quite comfortable life. He is married to a very energetic and enthusiast of all sorts of "natural" things woman; he is father of quadruplets and is the head of the department of Liberal Studies at the Fenland College of Arts and Technology. Furthermore, he lives in a big and wonderful and big house in a high class neighborhood. However, he feels that his life is nothing but miserable. At home he feels like a dummy in the hands of his wife and all his social and environmental thoughts and actions. In addition to that, he neither can't cope with the quadruplets, four outspoken girls that loose no opportunity to importunate him. Things aren't better at work, where he has to bear with the responsibility for the the acts of all his teammates and subordinates and the department, a bunch of bourgeois marxists that just can't help infuriating the school direction with clearly inadequate performances.

But one day a bright light appears in his life: the new lodger of the attic apartment, a precious German girl called Irmgard Mueller. Wilt falls automatically in love with her, and this feeling gives him a good reason to feel much better about his life. However, this apparent happiness won't last too much... Mueller turns out to be an international terrorist, and while the police is trying to capture her and her companions, things get complicated and all ends up with the kidnapping of the quadruplets and Wilt himself at their own home. In that circumstances, Wilt will have to squeeze his brains to achieve a satisfactory resolution to the action. But when we are talking about Wilt, nothing seems to neither satisfactory or normal...

Probably, Tom Sharpe's Henry Wilt is one of the most hilarious characters of British literature. His outstanding ability to turn any usual situation into a kind of Odyssey has become legendary. With the inestimable help of her wife Eva, all Wilt novels are a collection of odd and hilarious situations which demonstrate that humans have the capacity to turn anything into a disaster or into something embarrassing, in this case with extremely comic results. Going a little further in this analysis, Wilt series seems to be a kind of consolation to the British middle class for his accommodated and apparently boring lives. To me, it is like if Sharpe was trying to say his compatriots that their life might be boring and even absolutely grey, but at least they can keep their dignity with them, a thing that Henry Wilt looses a couple of times a week. Anyway, it is a captivating novel, because with hilarity it offers us a little bit of action and intrigue, so you are invited to read it avidly to know how the story ends.

In a few words, it is a fully recommended book if you want to read and exhilarating novel, if you want to laugh aloud...