Friday, 12 December 2008

Alan Coren - Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks (Canongate 2008)

This timely collection of the late great wit Alan Coren is lovingly curated by his adoring posh children, dictionary-defying Victoria and sub-editor-loving Giles. It features his best works of short fiction, articles, thoughts, ponderings, musings and pointed facts permeated with his intelligence and fierce humour throughout. This is a book to be taken in small doses so as to appreciate each piece as a stand-alone work of a great mind. It is a great re-read as well. Coren subverts our perceptions of language and verbage through his eloquent command of English and ability to twist it into the absurd, hilarious and pointedly poignant. Coren's credentials need no reexamining but for the uninitiated, he is the former editor of Punch and Radio 4 stalwart, a proper national treasure, who died in October 2007. In a prolific forty-year career Coren wrote for The Times, Observer, Tatler, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Listener, Punch and the New Yorker, and published over 20 books including The Sanity Inspector, Golfing for Cats and The Collected Bulletins of Idi Amin. This is a good jumping-in point for burgeoning comedy writing looking for some lessons in technique and good old fashionable wit and japery from one of the best. Thank the high heavens for Canongate this year.


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