Wilt In Nowhere – Tom Sharpe

I liked the early Tom Sharpe. The first Wilt books, the Blott books and the South Africa based ones were funny. They took outrageous situations and made them funny. There wasn’t a wasted word. Then Tom Sharpe developed writers’ block and couldn’t produce any books. It seems he has now recovered.

The key people here are Wilt, his wife Eva and his quadruplet daughters. Wilt’s family go to visit relations in the US, and cause chaos there. While his family are away Wilt unintentionally gets involved in a series of accidents, though mostly he is unconscious. Flint the policeman is there too.

All the elements are there. It could be a good book. It isn’t. There are too many patches in the plot where nothing of interest happens. I didn’t understand why the quads did what they did in the US, it wasn’t funny. Maybe it would have been in the 1970s, maybe it still is funny, maybe I have changed. The UK side is equally devoid of humour. Some parts are gently funny, but the humour of the earlier novels is missing. It’s rather like wading through treacle. The light, deft touch of the humourist is missing. A great shame as I did like Tom Sharpe. I shall have to re-read some of the earlier work just to check that it’s not me that has changed.

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