Saturday, August 16, 2008

Another kind of joke from Jasper Fforde

I posted a comment last week about the entertaining jibes at crime-fiction plot devices in Jasper Fforde's novel The Fourth Bear. But there's more to Fforde's jokes than good-natured, self-referential literary japery.
There are also jabs at political correctness and conspiracy theorists, among other things, and, lest you think these are easy prey, Fforde's humor is always a bit more probing than you might expect from jokes directed at such targets.
And then there is the following, which is just plain funny, no explanation needed:
"`Lovers,' repeated Bartholomew. `Goldilocks and I. For more than a year now.'

"`Wait, wait,' said Jack in a state of some confusion. `You were, to great fanfare, Westminster's first openly gay MP and have remained a vociferous mouthpiece for all kinds of minority-rights issues for the past twenty-five years, and now you're telling me ... you're
straight?'

"Bartholomew covered his face with his hands, and his shoulders shook with a silent sob.

"`You don't know what it's like,' he said miserably, `living a lie.'"
© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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18 Comments:

Blogger Linkmeister said...

Now there's a closeted guy!

August 16, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I seem to recall a similarly amusing miniature scandal in the late 1970s when it was revealed that all the members of the Tom Robinson Band, which made its big splash with "Glad to Be Gay," were straight except for Tom Robinson himself. But that was not as funny as Fforde's version.

August 16, 2008  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Pure. Gold.

August 16, 2008  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

By the way, if you enjoy the playful perversion of nursery rhymes, Neil Gaiman reinvented the tale of Humpty Dumpty as a hard-boiled detective story. You can read "The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds" here. It's great fun.

August 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Robinson,who later married a woman.Says he still is mostly gay,but doesn't want to feel STRAIGHTjacketed in the role.

Yes,the Gaiman piece is very funny.
Mr.Gaiman also gave us the Hugo awarded Holmes/Lovecraft pastiche A Study in Emerald (link opens in Pdf)

Another fun piece of hard-boiled crossover available online is Jo Walton's What Would Sam Spade Do? set in a future Philadelphia.

Jo Walton,by the way,has written two very good pure mysteries,Farthing and Ha'penny (the third and final,Half a Crown,is due this September) set in an alternate history Britain which made peace,and then allied itself,with Nazi Germany.
Her books are marketed as sf,and sadly,unlike Chabon,she hasn't caught much attention this side of the genre barriers.

Farthing is written in the manner of the English country-house Mistery,while Ha'penny is more of a Thriller; both feature Scotland Yard Inspector Peter Carmichael,a good man who tries the balance his desire to discover the truth with the pressures of an increasingly dangerous political situation.
In fact Carmichael's situation and some thematic similarities reminded me a bit of the De Luca trilogy.

And since I have mentioned Lucarelli,in a recent interview he has said that a new De Luca is in the works.

Sorry if I've derailed the thread
Bye
Marco

August 16, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Loren, I took a quick look at the Neil Gaiman story, and I'll read it more fully later. It looks as if the story may overcome my initial apprehensions that it's mere clever spoof.

Jasper Fforde used Humpty Dumpty as the victim in his first Nursery Crimes novel, by the way. It's interesting to see that the big egg is versatile enough to be the protagonist in Neil Gaiman's story.

August 16, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Marco, thanks for expanding my reading list. I'll eagerly seek out Jo Walton's future version of my current city of residence.

And you don't have to apoogize for verring off-topic, especially if you have that exciting news about a new De Luca novel. Does that interview with Lucarelli appear online? Even if it's in Italian, I'd be able to make my way through the important parts.

August 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well,the Philadelphia part was a bit of a hook-the piece is very short and there's not much of the city in it-could have been set everywhere, really.
(But is really nice-try the link)
The two alt-English mysteries are also very good,and very different in style.
Farthing reads as if it could have been written by Josephine Tey,while
Ha'penny made me think of le Carré.

Re:Lucarelli the interview is mainly about his recent historical novel set in Eritrea -the final question is about future projects, and he answers:
"ho in mente una nuova storia di De Luca, e sarà Sellerio"
(Sellerio is the publishing house for the De Luca novels,while the others are published by Einaudi).
So,you do know a little Italian? or you manage thanks to the similarities with French and/or Latin and/or Spanish?

Marco

August 16, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's a good list of recommendations, and I'd like to read Lucarelli's novel about Eritrea when it is translated into English. Thanks.

I know a little Italian because I studies the language for a year at school. Later, I visited Italy several times, and I lived in Rome for five months eleven years ago when I was studying the history of art.

I used to get my coffee and read the newspaper at a bar on the Viale Aventino every day, and the barrista called me Il Professore.

Where did the interview with Lucarelli appear? I would like to cite it if I post a comment about a new De Luca novel.

August 16, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Jo Walton is a regular contributor to the blog at Tor, the publishing house.

She also has a LiveJournal here.

August 16, 2008  
Blogger petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Ciao Peter, So much literary talent within these novels. Your spotlighted dialogue sounds intriguing. It's wickedly delicious! p.s. Wanted to let you know the winners of "Canine Talk": Tom Hanks, Diane Keaton, Whoopi Goldberg, and Other (hmmmm). Hope you enjoy "Mt. Olympics!"

August 16, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. "Canine Talk" is probably my second-favorite so far after "Happy Grooming."

August 16, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

OK, gents, Jo Walton is hereby officialy added to my list. Thanks.

August 16, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Milanonera .

Here's the direct link.

I wouldn't count much on a translation of "L'ottava vibrazione".As a pure historical novel it is a tougher sell, marketing-wise.
Not even Camilleri's non-crime novels have been translated,and he's probably more successful.
You could refresh and upgrade your Italian and try the originals.

Linkmeister,you a fellow trans-genre reader?

Jo Walton also initiated International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day,a day in which authors post free content on the internet.

Marco

August 16, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Mille grazie. My Italian would require considerable upgrading before I could make a realistic effort at reading fiction. But reading articles on Milanonera could be a good start.

I like the title of Jo Walton's day. She seems to be a dynamic character.

August 16, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Marco,
You might say that. ;)

Here's my list of tags at my LibraryThing account; that shows the diversity of those 1,860 books.

Additionally, I frequent Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden's blog Making Light, and Ms. Walton's a frequent commenter there. The Nielsen Haydens are affiliated with Tor, Patrick as an editor and Teresa as a contributing editor. She's also principal moderator at BoingBoing's blog, and, as we discovered a year ago, a new cousin.

August 16, 2008  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Of all the English writers living in the US, Neil Gaiman seems to have captured the American vernacular most successfully. I wonder if that's because he lives in the mid West not New York or LA.

a...

August 17, 2008  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

So it may be time for me to read this guy, in other words.

August 17, 2008  

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