Tom Sharpe\’s died

If you haven\’t read Riotous Assemply then you must. Today.

I discovered
the novel when I was a student in London, working at night in a restaurant to pay the bills. A waitress at the place was South African and she\’d not heard of him as a novelist. But she did know the name: he\’d taken her baby photos.

He taught in Natal for a time and then set up a photographic studio in Pietermaritzburg in 1957.

Odd the bits you remember.

14 comments on “Tom Sharpe\’s died

  1. That’s very sad. I recently read his latest (now last, I suppose) book. He hasn’t lost his bite, although the content is a bit dated. A great satirical talent.

  2. I think he lost his touch round about Wilt, or maybe I grew up. But the early books were very funny.

  3. bloke in france

    Wilt was the first Tom Sharpe book I ever read. I remember that I nearly choked myself laughing all the way through it. Seriously, I couldn’t breathe I was laughing so hard!

    I agree with Tim though that Riotous Assembly was his best. He had the heart of an English gentleman.

  4. As a young Southern African Roitous Assembly helped pull the scales from my eyes. I can’t think of it though without still, all these years later, feeling a little resiual shame.

  5. Read some Sharpe yeas ago, then forgot all about him. Why, heavens knows because he’s one of the funniest reads ever. And now, thanks to interweb, have just downloaded the lot.
    So the sunlounger’s positioned, the beer stocks up to siege capability & I’ll be hard to reach ’til late August.

  6. at this point I’d also put a vote in for Porterhouse Blue and The Throwback. In the latter there’s a section with oven-cleaner-laced condoms and a cheese-grater that will make every right-thinking man pale and cross his legs

  7. How sad.

    I knew him, years ago, and once again the connection was photography. I still have some wonderful prints he did for me.

    He was a charming man, and his modesty and self-effacement always seemed at odds with the extravagance of his books. As Tom says, he had the heart of a gentleman.

  8. Oh yes, The Throwback… the whole “clearing out the subdivision” plot is one of the most hysterically funny things I’ve ever read.

  9. Churm: I’m not surprised. Anyone who writes with that degree of viciously biting wit is either a nice person in real life or murdered in their sleep at a young age.

  10. I read his last ‘Wilt’ novel and it was … well … OK. But ‘Riotous Assembly’, ‘Vintage Stuff’, ‘The Wilt Alternative’ and ‘Porterhouse Blue’ were gems (speaking of the ones I read).

    Chromatistes has already mentioned Konstabel Els brassing up his SAP comrades in ‘Riotous Assembly’, I also remember Lieutnant Verkrampte’s proud boast that he had confiscated subversive literature from the local library, including ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘The Red Badge of Courage’.

    ‘The Wilt Alternative’ – amongst other things – provided one of the most vivid condemnations of the lunacy of terrorism put in print,epitomised by Inspector Flint bollocking a Guardianista lawyer by saying ‘Don’t tell me I can’t call them fucking murderers! A murderer is a murder and I’ve had just about all that I can fucking take!’. Wise words then, and wise words now.

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