The Hippopotamus – Stephen Fry
The Hippopotamus is a satirical novel written by Stephen Fry, first published in 1994. It tells the story of Ted Wallace, a washed-up poet and journalist who is hired by his goddaughter, Jane, to investigate a series of mysterious healings that have occurred at Swafford Hall, the estate of her wealthy family.
Wallace is initially skeptical of the claims of healing, but as he investigates further, he begins to uncover a strange and sinister world of mysticism, manipulation, and deceit. Along the way, he encounters a cast of eccentric and colorful characters, including the charismatic and enigmatic Lord Logan, and the members of the New Puritan Movement, a religious cult that is connected to the healings.
Fry’s writing is witty and sharp, and he uses his characters and their situations to explore deeper themes about faith, belief, and the nature of truth. The novel is a scathing critique of the world of spiritualism and new age beliefs, and Fry does not shy away from exposing the hypocrisy and corruption that can exist in these movements.
Despite its satirical tone, The Hippopotamus is also a novel that has a lot of heart. Fry’s love of language and his appreciation for the absurdity of the human condition are evident on every page, and his characters are vividly drawn and memorable.
One of the strengths of the novel is its use of humor. Fry has a knack for creating hilarious and absurd situations, and he uses these moments to great effect throughout the book. From the bizarre and over-the-top healing ceremonies to the hijinks of Wallace’s sidekick, the exasperatingly competent nurse, every page is filled with laugh-out-loud moments.
Ultimately, The Hippopotamus is a novel about the search for meaning and the importance of human connection. Fry’s writing is both entertaining and thought-provoking, and the novel is a testament to his skill as a writer and his ability to tackle complex themes with humor and grace.
Overall, The Hippopotamus is a delightful and entertaining novel that showcases Stephen Fry’s unique style and wit. It is a must-read for fans of satire and anyone who enjoys a good laugh.