Sunday, August 1, 2010

Being a famous lead actor (with multiple Emmy nominations) in a worldwide phenomenon of a show is inspiring. Being able to portray a character so repulsive yet managing to make the whole world fall in love with such character is remarkable. Being able to play the keyboard and guitar in a band is awesome. Having the intelligence and wit to write a spy novel and have it published before being internationally famous is absolutely brilliant. But having the characteristics of all of these while maintaining a typically low profile (at least in Hollywood's standards) is exemplary.

The Gun Seller is Hugh Laurie's first novel. Published in 1996, he first submitted the manuscript under a different name for fear of being another 'celebrity novelist', only revealing his identity after it had been accepted for publication and agreeing to use his real name in the books for publicity's sake after being persuaded by his publicist.

I admit that, even though I adore Hugh Laurie as Dr. House and was thrilled to find out he has written a novel, the book isn't the best spy novel I've read. The plot began to get fuzzy in the middle and there were times I didn't know what was going on. But the thing that made me finish the whole book and still want to write a review praising its pages is none other than, the writing.

There are many books which have superb plots and endearing characters, but few, I think, have pages after pages filled with witty observations about ordinary life presented in such a way that you won't even care about the plot as long as you get to read those amusing quips about everyday existence.

"...the sweat was pouring off me and I was praying for him to hail a taxi... I caught another one an agonizing twenty seconds later. Well, obviously it was another one. Even the amateur follower knows that you don't get into the same taxi as the one you're following."

"The meter said six pounds, so I passed a ten pound note through the window and watched a fifteen-second production of 'I'm Not Sure I've Got Change For That', starring licensed cab driver 99102, before getting out and heading back down the street."

"I was shown into a room. A red room. Red wallpaper, red curtains, red carpet. They said it was a sitting-room, but I don't know why they'd decided to confine its purpose just to sitting. Obviously, sitting was one of the things you could do in a room this size; but you could also stage operas, hold cycling races, and have and absolutely cracking game of frisbee, all at the same time without having to move any furniture."

"When the driver told me how much money he wanted, I had to spend a few minutes explaining that I didn't actually want to buy the cab, I just wanted to settle up for the fifteen minutes I'd spent in it."

"...and then we were back to CNN's main agenda: telling people who are watching CNN that what they really ought to be doing is watching CNN. Preferable in a different fine hotel to the one they're in."
This is exactly the kind of Writing Brain I would like to develop in the future. Sarcasm and wit at its finest.

Reading the novel, I can find similarities between Thomas Lang, the former Scott's Guard officer protagonist who gets swept up in international arms scandals and terrorism conspiracies, and Dr. House, the arrogant but brilliant diagnostician who knows no bedside manners.

They are both geniuses in their own right, have the same sharp tongue, similar twisted psyche and they even have the same love for fast motorcycles. Which led me to believe that Thomas Lang may be rooted in Hugh Laurie's own personality and in turn, so is Dr. House. 

Now, isn't that interesting.


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