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Tennyson's Gift

3.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  110 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
A New York Times Bestselling Author

The bestselling author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves turns a fiendishly clever eye to the literary world. Tennyson's Gift is an imaginative cocktail of Victorian seriousness and farce that re-imagines the world of the nineteenth-century English poet laureate, placing him in the midst of eccentric company that includes dodgy Charles Dodgso

Published June 10th 2004 by Profile Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 228)
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Connor Mcintosh
Mar 03, 2015 Connor Mcintosh rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Let me start by saying that I found this novel in a hostel in Greece whilst sunning myself and generally having a splendid time. As such, my review should not be interpreted as coming from a cynical fun-void with no sense of humour. However...

How anyone can genuinely find humour within this "laugh a minute" tome is beyond me. Many readers have said that the book is "slow to get going." My own personal experience saw this book "get going" from glacial to static. What starts as a depressing look a
Aug 11, 2015 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up in the library because we loved one of Truss's other books, "Eats Shoots and Leaves" which I would recommend highly.

A bit slow getting started and from most of the text in the first chapter or two I was afraid that it would end up being the sort of book that seems to be all in vogue right now, purported biographies where the author fills in great gaps in what is known about the subject with their own flights of fancy: "We don't know what Lear and his man-servant talked about bu
Apr 26, 2015 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is rare for me to simply love 'an entire novel' and not want to stop reading midway through or give up altogether in frustration! You do not have to know all that much about Alfred Tennyson or any of the other literary cast of characters. All you need is an open mind and a sense of humor! This novel is pure fun to read and farce in the true sense of the word!

It seems that I am now mainly reading novels albeit fiction or nonfiction for research or analytical reasons that I rarely read just for
Jul 27, 2007 Nadine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Alice In Wonderland Fans, Tennyson Fans, G. H. Watts Fans
Humorous Historical Fiction.

Silliness... If you like Lewis Carrol,Alfred Tennyson,Julia Camernon: early photographers and Victorian literati, and quirky British humor the first few paragraphs have not failed me. It reminds me of watching Posh Nosh for the first time: fascinating, foreign and oddly funny. It's very... English (use English accent when saying 'English' for full effect).

Don't let the bad choice of cover art turn you away from this book.
May 29, 2014 Dorothy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange little volume and I haven't quite decided whether to persevere with it (I'm about a third of the way through).

It's written in a style that sounds like one of those wry, smart-mouthed female TV personalities like Kathy Lette or Sue Perkins. Many of her expressions are hilariously apt, but it does mean that you're very conscious of the personality of the author as you read - and since her voice is not at all Victorian, it jars a bit.

What's really distracting, for me, is that I'm
May 03, 2015 Simon rated it liked it
Knockabout fun playing fast and loose with a little bit of Victoriana. Not one for the serious literature shelf (as I'm sure Ms Truss would be happy to concede) but a most enjoyable and chucklesome jaunt. She reminds me of the late Linda Smith. Further proof in the current (well, last year's) debate over whether clever women can be funny; that they most certainly can be. It's like her Radio 4 series, Acropolis Now; an enjoyable half hour if you catch it; not all the world if you miss. That she w ...more
Jul 06, 2008 Diana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Victoriana fans
Recommended to Diana by: Andrew, unknowingly
Random but fun. I saw this book on a bookshelf in someone's house when I was sort of sneaking around looking at what they read, and wondered what it was. From the woman who brought you 'Talk to the Hand' and 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves', this is a fictitious story about lots of heroes of Victorian England's artistic world all getting together in a coincidence of drama and mayhem. Lewis Carroll is there, Julia Margaret Cameron, and of course Tennyson, Poet Laureate. It's such an odd little story t ...more
Rebecca E.
Meh. While there was nothing specifically wrong with it, I didn't enjoy it and actually abandoned about two thirds through. It felt a bit too "clever" like she was trying just too hard to be witty and literary, leaving me both cold and trying to get past the literariness to the story. Which I still haven't done - two thirds through and I still don't know what the point is!

Just a personal thing but not my cup of tea.
Jan 19, 2011 JackieB rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, humorous
This was very funny and was a kind of "Alice in Wonderland" set in the Isle of Wight in Victorian times. Although I enjoyed it I didn't really understand what it was about. Just as I thought it was exploring fame in Victorian times it seemed to shoot off and start to examine talent or something else. Of course it could have just been for fun but it read as though there was a more serious point to the story lurking under the funny stuff. Unfortunately if there was it was buried too deep for me to ...more
Oct 28, 2013 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, the author imagines a quirky summer vacation of several Victorian authors and artists. The writing style takes on the flavor of Victorian comic satire, even when the story's events turn emotional. I enjoyed the story as an entertaining diversion between larger books.
Jan 17, 2015 misc rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the wittiest books I've ever read. Truss really knows the period--the facts, the feel, and the foibles. If you appreciated A.S. Byatt's erudition in Posession and have a sense of humor, you will love this book. I can't understand why it's been overlooked.
Angela Buckley
Sep 27, 2014 Angela Buckley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book - quirky, entertaining and refreshingly unique. I love the Isle of Wight and it was a sheer delight to read all about these extraordinary characters and their eccentricities. I would highly recommend it.
Lynne Elsisy
Nov 03, 2014 Lynne Elsisy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing romp. As other people have said makes you want to find out more about all the different real leife characters brought to life in this book. I'll never think of Tennyson in quite the same way again!
Hope this gets better as I'm really not enjoying it yet - humour seems overly worked and calculated.

Gave up after 3 chps - too many other good books to read to waste time on one that irritates me so much.
Nov 20, 2008 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining account of what happens when Tennyson meets GF Watts, Ellen Terry and Charles Dodgeson. Just add some evil kids and an American phrenologist
Jan 10, 2012 Bobby rated it liked it
Actually funny, interesting and moving by turns, but so far removed from anything I've read before that I really don't know how to place it.
Clare Coffey
It was ok. Some of the characters were a little one sided. It was not as good a book as I thought that it was going to be.
Shonna Froebel
Jan 07, 2014 Shonna Froebel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Didn't like it much, and although it is supposed to be a comic novel, I found it more sad than funny. Gave my copy to the library
Oct 05, 2010 Cupcakencorset rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another short novel by Truss, another fun read.
Mar 07, 2007 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anglophiles, victorian nerds
Shelves: favorites
HILARIOUS work of historical fiction
Sarah Edwards
Sarah Edwards rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2016
Kittah Gerhardt
Kittah Gerhardt marked it as to-read
Jul 19, 2016
Tom Paterson
Tom Paterson marked it as to-read
Jul 20, 2016
Annie Harrison
Annie Harrison rated it really liked it
Jul 06, 2016
Mary added it
Jul 02, 2016
Clare Whiting
Clare Whiting rated it liked it
Jun 07, 2016
Michael rated it really liked it
Jun 28, 2016
Sylvie added it
May 23, 2016
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Lynne Truss is a writer and journalist who started out as a literary editor with a blue pencil and then got sidetracked. The author of three novels and numerous radio comedy dramas, she spent six years as the television critic of The Times of London, followed by four (rather peculiar) years as a sports columnist for the same newspaper. She won Columnist of the Year for her work for Women's Journal ...more
More about Lynne Truss...

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