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Friday, 17 October 2014

Tom Sharpe - Wilt in Nowhere

review written by Brian Lowen & read on the bookshow 2014
I thought that I had read all of Tom Sharpe’s hilarious books but was pleased to find this one in the charity shop recently which I hadn’t read.
Other famous books of his include Porterhouse Blue and Blot on the Landscape, both of which have been made into films.

This book features Henry Wilt, a schoolteacher who is the central person in several other books.  Henry is married to a large lady and has four girls – quads in fact, named Samantha, Penelope, Josephine and Emmeline.

Their Uncle Wally and Auntie Joan who live in Wilma, Tennessee, invite them all over to America for the summer holidays, with all expenses paid by Wally, who is the head of a large company and is very rich with private jet and boats and a large mansion plus a summer retreat up in the mountains.

Wally does not have any relatives and Eva, Henry’s wife is hoping that Wally might leave some of his fortune to the quads in his will. Henry, however, detests Wally who is a typical brash rich Yank, always deriding Henry for his lack of enthusiasm for life and his relatively poor standard of living.

Henry therefore thinks up an excuse not to go. He waves his family off at the airport and immediately sets off on a country

trek. He packs a haversack and plans to just keep walking without planning any route but just enjoying the countryside, stopping at pubs for meals and a pint and sleeping in B & Bs.  His idyllic plans soon come tumbling down though as he gets caught in a thunderstorm in the middle of nowhere and gets into all manner of scrapes including being suspected of burning down a large house.

Eva and the girls, meanwhile, are enjoying themselves in the luxurious surroundings of Wally’s mansion. Wally soon tires of the girl’s personal questions regarding his love life and the conditions of his employees, which the girls are investigating for their projects back at school. He takes them all off to his country house to get their minds off these subjects but of course they cause him even greater embarrassment there.

Unbeknown to the family, the FBI suspect Eva of bringing drugs into the country and when they start their surveillance chaos reigns as the quads start causing mayhem for Wally and Joan and soon get packed off home with their Mother.

If you don’t laugh out loud at some of the situations Tom Sharpe dreams up for Wilt’s family then I shall be very surprised. An hilarious tale which I am pleased to recommend as a good tonic to cheer up anyone.

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