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Main page » Fiction literature » Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe

Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe


Sometimes I'm in the mood for really good satire.
And when I am in that particular mood, I can always rely on Tom Sharpe to deliver.
This is actually a new copy of Porterhouse Blue, my well-worn old copy not having survived the transatlantic voyage. As the blurb says:

To Porterhouse College, Cambridge, famous for rowing, low academic standards and a proud cuisine, comes a new Master, an ex-grammar-school boy, demanding Firsts, women students, a self-service canteen and a slot-machine for contraceptives, to challenge the established order with catastrophic results...

While not having attended Cambridge myself, my former university was certainly old and traditional enough in spots to make the conservative academic traditions being satirized clearly recognizable, and the likewise satirized liberal reformist tendency of the new Master is, of course, commonplace in many times and places. The story flows fast through the conflict between these two tendencies, the former personified in Skullion, the old and crusty college porter, drawing together his usual cast of absurd but nonetheless real characters through absurdity and farcical happenings to a thoroughly satisfying and twisted climax.
Very highly recommended, although a cautionary note that those not accustomed to exceptionally English humor may want to become so first; you'll appreciate the book more that way.

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Tags: Porterhouse, slotmachine, canteen, students, contraceptives, selfservice