ISBN 9780224073028,Speak For England

Speak For England


Hawes James


Random House

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ISBN 9780224073028
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ISBN 9780224073028

Random House

Publication Year 2005

ISBN 9780224073028

ISBN-10 0224073028

Hard Back

Number of Pages 352 Pages
Language (English)

Short stories

James Hawes' wonderful new novel begins with its protagonist Brian Marley, a divorced, ineffectual teacher, all alone in a jungle about to die live on television. A reluctant contestant on Brit Pluck, Green Hell, Seven Figures, the ultimate reality TV show, Marley has somehow managed to outlive his rivals and win two million quid. Except that the helicopter sent to bring him back to civilization has crashed, and he's on his own, with a portable camera, at the foot of a monstrously tall cliff. He has no option but to start climbing...

To his astonishment, Marley doesn't die, although the world he finds at the top of that cliff is remarkably like an Englishman's version of heaven. There's cricket and rugger, the Union Jack, plucky boys, pretty girls, a tough but fair headmaster - an entire miniature civilization created by the surviving passengers from Comet IV, an airliner which vanished in 1958 carrying a jolly gang of youngsters to a public schools jamboree in Australia. Believing that they were one of the first casualties of World War III, they have survived in their jungle fastness for nearly fifty years, sustained by the Book of Common Prayer and good old English values.

Hawes' telling of this tale is as tellingly funny as anything he has ever written, but when Brian's rescuers do find him at last, when the world of the Daily Star confronts that of the Eagle, when the Prime Minister, spotting an opportunity for a sound-bite, meets the Headmaster, the novel shifts gear into a glorious satire worthy of Evelyn Waugh. The Observer called James Hawes 'the funniest British novelist writing today'. Speak for England proves it, over and over again.

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