Shelf Life

Making History by Stephen Fry
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"Triumph, glory. Mwah! A big Aquafresh kiss for you, my darling."

Oh dear. Stephen Fry seems to think that this is how straight men address their girlfriends. In Making History (Hutchinson pounds 16.99) he not only tackles the topic of straight sex ("hands rubbing nylon ... the uppermost part of her long legs ... soft hot private flesh" - and that's page one) but takes on the giant spectre of Adolf Hitler himself. As the novel opens, imbecile post-grad Michael Young is walking along a Cambridge street in a high wind with his thesis when "The most dreadful thing that could have happened did happen. A really shitty thing on its own, but which set in train what was possibly the shittiest event (or non-event) in the history of humanity [get on with it] ... I was setting in train [you've already used this] the explosion of everything I knew. 'Oh no!' I howled. 'Please no! No, no, no, no, no, no!'"

Yes, he drops his swirling papers, that corny old plot-device last seen in How to Make an American Quilt. And that, as Michael Young himself might say, is the bummerist bummer of all.