For Ned, 1980 seems a blissful year. Handsome, charming, popular and talented, his life is progressing smoothly, effortlessly, happily. And when he meets the lovely Portia Fendeman his personal jigsaw appears complete. But timing is everything in life, and his life is about to change for ever. Things are going to get very bad indeed for innocent young Ned. A promise made to a dying teacher and a spiteful trick played by fellow pupils will rocket Ned from cricket captain to solitary confinement, from head boy to hell. When Ned emerges he is a man bent on just one thing - revenge; and revenge is a dish he plans to savour and serve to those who conspired against him. Part love story, part thriller, a gloriously rich mix that only Stephen Fry can dish up to us, The Stars' Tennis Balls will leave you happy and replete.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Ned Maddstone was born lucky; he is charming, handsome and on the school cricket team. In fact, Ned has everything most likely to grate with others less fortunate than himself, others who will do all they can to topple him from his elevated position.
Fry takes his title from Webster's play the Duchess of Malfi: "We are merely the star's tennis balls, struck and bandied which way may please them", and Ned finds out that while fate dealt him a kind hand at birth, his luck cannot hold indefinitely. Fry's novel, which he reads in its entirety for this audio book, plots a tragic cycle of blame, retribution and just plain bad luck. Yet as this pattern builds it quickly spirals out of control; running at ten hours long this is an ambitious novel and the strain shows with Fry, who like the story's villain Ashley, frequently relies on cliché to overcome difficulties.
However, if Fry's story is flawed, his reading is virtuosic. Unsurprisingly in a novel so concerned with power and status, accent is of key importance, with large sections of the novel consisting entirely of dialogue, yet Fry never resorts to caricature to differentiate between voices. Instead, he relies on precise observation of nuance and inflection creating a beautiful layering of different types of speech. It is this which most recommends Fry's reading--both as a valuable complement to the novel and as a performance in its own right. Those who know Fry best as a comic actor will not be disappointed by the sharp one-liners sprinkled throughout the piece, they may however be surprised by its darkness. --Anoushka Alexander
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Book Description 1999-10-02., 1999. Book Condition: New. Arrow Books Ltd. New edition. Paperback. Book: GOOD. 496pp. . Bookseller Inventory # NF-1710652
Book Description 1999-10-02., 1999. Book Condition: New. Arrow Books Ltd. New edition. Paperback. Book: VERY GOOD. 496pp. . Bookseller Inventory # NF-1750968