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The Wimbledon Poisoner (1990)

por Nigel Williams

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267575,964 (3.34)6
From the author of Witchcraft comes this black comedy about an unsuccessful solicitor who decides to murder his wife, with devastating results.
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Mostrando 5 de 5
The Wimbledon Poisoner by Nigel Williams - OK

When I decided to download this to my kindle, I was looking for something cheap & cheerful to read and this fitted the bill. I had no idea that it was listed in The Guardian's 1000 best novels http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/jan/23/bestbooks-fiction

It was an interesting and humourous tale of one man's mid-life crisis as he attempts to poison his wife and everything seems to spiral beyond his control. Quite silly in places and pretty obvious in others, it was just what I was looking for. Not 100% convinced about it's inclusion in the Guardian list. I have read much better books that weren't included!
( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
I picked this book up and read it in defiance of 95% of my brain cells which were screaming "NO!" Having read four Nigel Williams novels previously, I've noticed a pattern: man with insufferable wife has mid-life crisis and starts acting bizarrely before a weak-as-water conclusion attempts to convince the reader nothing they previously read was real anyway. I will admit to harbouring hopes that this, one of the author's best known works, might buck the trend.

I'm not going to spoil by indicating whether the formula was followed or not, but there were enough other things about the book that I didn't get on with to depress the star rating on their own. There was humour, as always, but I found it hard to laugh at, given its juxtaposition with the nastiness of the whole plot. The only chapter which raised a titter with me was the one featuring the Jungian analyst and his wine box. In general, the tendency of the character Henry to characterise his neighbours with pithy one-sentence summaries, was clever, and I could see why some people would find the whole thing hilarious, and I wanted to - I really did, but I just couldn't.

Perhaps the problem was that either central character Henry really was a nasty piece of work and there was nothing remotely funny about that, or we were going to be treated to a Nigel Williams-style ending in which none of it actually happened, in which case (my inner cynic kept reminding me) the joke was on me as a reader and I wasn't going to dignify it with so much as a titter.

Perhaps it was the casual racism that littered the dialogue. The sort that later on comes with a wink and a reassurance "I'm not racist, really", and then later still, a wink with the other eye and the comment "I was kidding - I actually am racist". I didn't know where the book stood.

Or perhaps it's the whole Wimbledon-ness of it. I haven't been to Wimbledon, except to stand in a humungous queue to get into the tennis, and have no idea what intrinsic character that suburb possesses, but it's almost as if the area counts as a separate character , and there's a whiny voice saying 'if you lived here you'd understand'. Well I don't, and I don't.

I expect I'll be on my own in not really liking this book, and to be fair, I shouldn't have made that rash decision to read it. Next time I will listen to those brain cells. ( )
  jayne_charles | Jul 1, 2015 |
At times a funny story of the thoughts of an attempted murderer, with a few laugh-out-loud moments, but it wanders too close to magical realism for my taste. For long stretches of the middle of the story, the narrative gets bogged down in Henry's inner thoughts, including a few stretches that suggest that perhaps the entire story has been a wild fantasy of Henry's. ( )
  rkstafford | Oct 28, 2013 |
A mad farce - a disgruntled and dissatisfied husband sets out to poison his wife, and ends up wiping out friends and local strangers in an incompetent and increasingly desperate campaign. The papers are full of the hunt for the new serial killer and despite constantly expecting to have his collar felt, Henry Farr remains at liberty. He slowly realises he doesn't wish to kill anyone, not even his wife.

As the book goes on we realise that Henry Farr is even less capable than he seems and, despite his best efforts, hasn't managed a single victim - which means there is a serial killer at large and he's one of the other suburban basket-cases that Wimbledon seems full of in this book.

The book kept me mildly entertained to the end, but I thought it had dated very quickly considering it was written less than thirty years ago. ( )
1 vote Greatrakes | Dec 7, 2008 |
A very funny book ( )
  wrichard | Dec 8, 2005 |
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Henry Farr did not, precisely, decide to murder his wife.
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Sooner or later, thought Henry, the rubbish men will come for me. They will take me out in a van or a skip and, like everything else in the suburb, the bedsprings, the cardboard boxes, the Pentel pens, ... I will be carried out towards the great ocean of junk.
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From the author of Witchcraft comes this black comedy about an unsuccessful solicitor who decides to murder his wife, with devastating results.

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Média: (3.34)
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