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The Late Hector Kipling

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  395 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews

Hector Kipling is a famous artist. But Hector is not as famous as his best friend, Lenny Snook. And as they are standing in the Tate Gallery one afternoon, Hector's life begins to unravel. For a painter, this existential crisis is the place from which great art is born. If the painter happens to be a forty-three-year-old man with a girlfriend away from home, it is the reci
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 6th 2007 by Simon & Schuster (first published September 4th 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 16, 2011 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book caught my intention when my wife pointed it out to me in an Oxfam shop. I was intrigued by the rather grotesque cover, and then intrigued a little more by the fact that it was written by David Thewlis, and then a little more intrigued by Billy Connolly praising the book in a blurb on the back. I probably would have passed if it wasn't so cheap, but I'm really glad I picked it up.

The Late Hector Kipling is one of the darkest, most hilarious books I've ever read. It quite simply will be
Feb 07, 2009 Devon rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This is the kind of book that you just can't keep to yourself. I found myself constantly looking for someone to share passages with. Some of it was just too funny to keep to myself and some of it was just too insightful....some of it was both. All of the characters are familiar enough to hit home and insane enough to be absurd.

Experiencing the novel through Hector's eyes, in first person, is really the best part of the whole thing. It gives the novel a very personal feeling. It's almost as if th
May 07, 2010 Rowan rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
In the interest of full disclosure, I confess that the reason this book caught my eye, and the reason I checked it out from the library in the first place, is that it was written by the actor who played Remus Lupin -- my favourite character -- in the Harry Potter movies. He brought such wonderful qualities to the character that I was curious to see how his creativity would play out on the printed page. I'll gladly give this book its props. It's an interesting story, and the style is excellent an ...more
Aug 17, 2009 Tiffany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Thewlis was a writer before he was an actor. This shows, in his novel The Late Hector Kipling. Most authors want their narrators or main storyteller to be a hero, or at least someone you like or want to be. Not Thewlis. In the tradition of Catcher in the Rye, the narrator is a complete antagonist. He is someone you wouldn't want to know. This does not make the book unreadable, however, but perhaps even more so, as you really want him to come to his senses, but no, he is a selfish, self-ser ...more
Jan 21, 2009 Chloe rated it it was amazing
This is my most favourite book in the whole world.
Rowan MacBean
Jun 11, 2010 Rowan MacBean rated it really liked it
Well, that was ... weird. XD Which is to be expected, I think. Thewlis strikes me as a pretty weird guy so it makes sense that the story he felt the need to tell would be so bizarre. The summary's use of the word "surreal" hits the nail directly on the head, in my opinion, but because truth really is stranger than fiction so often, nothing that happens is truly unbelievable. It's perhaps a little unbelievable that it all happens to one guy, but even that...? Dude, some people just get shit on al ...more
Dec 14, 2010 CF rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is brilliant. Thewlis' style of writing is fresh and unlike anything I have read. The story is very good. Hector Kipling is an artist, who, seemingly, is searching for the perfect type of sorrow.
No one in his family has died, and when his girlfriend Eleni's mother gets severley burnt in an accident, he is jealous that she gets to experience the kind of sadness that he has been wanting to feel. While back in her homeland of Crete, he begins an affair with an American poet called Rosa. Her s
Jan 25, 2011 Outis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, english
Ich fand es unheimlich zäh zu lesen.
Eigentlich dachte ich immer, mein Englisch wäre ok. Mit anderen englischen Büchern hatte ich jedenfalls noch nie so großartige Probleme. Aber dieses hier hat mich echt geschafft.
Zum einen lag das an den "Spezialwörtern" (wie z.B. unser deutscher "Edding". Das ist eigentlich die Marke und nicht der Stift selber, aber jeder weiß, was mit Edding gemeint ist; auch wenn der entsprechende Gegenstand nicht von dieser Firma / Marke sein sollte.) Aber die erklärten sic
Dec 09, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it
Well, huh. This definitely was an interesting read. Strange is a word I'd use to describe the actual plot. Dead on is how I'd describe the narration (though I suppose it would be rather tongue in cheek of me to do so).

The voice of the work I'm in love with and hence, the star rating. There were parts I laughed out loud at, which is somewhat rare. But Mr. Thewlis definitely created a living breathing person in Hector Kipling, and to a varied extent, the other cast of characters.

I wasn't as enam
Sep 22, 2009 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People not looking for a happy ending, people looking for a real life story. people who enjoy art
My goodness, if this isn't one of the best stories I've ever read I'm not sure what is. The Late Hector Kipling follows the artist Hector Kipling as his life goes from perfection to destruction. Much more than a simple mid life crisis the downfall of Hector Kipling is orchestrated by himself and others until he has nothing left.

David Thewlis did an amazing job capturing characters, locations and plots, as well as the feeling and motivations behind everything. His prose is something to be celebr
Dec 21, 2008 Hanna rated it liked it
Quirky, contemporary, a dark, tongue-in-cheek look at the competitive world of high art. Good voice but the first person/present tense style wears thin after a while; its a strain to carry all the nuances of motive and action but such is the burden of the present tense. Enjoyed it the first time through, reads fairly quick once you get used to the style but it's not something I would idly re-read in a hurry. That said, it is merely the author's first novel and I will keep an eye out for any furt ...more
Erin O'Riordan
Jul 08, 2012 Erin O'Riordan rated it really liked it
David Thewlis is a clever guy, and he knows a lot about the art world. I can imagine that this novel was written by the character he plays (briefly) in 'The Big Lebowski.' (But it's more fun to imagine this is a novel WRITTEN BY REMUS LUPIN.) The ending was a bit unexpected, but I suppose it's a statement about the irony of any artist calling another artist a thief, since creative theft is essentially the definition of art.

I hope David Thewlis writes more novels.
May 15, 2013 Margo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indie
I loved this book. Who knew that David Thewlis could write better than he could act (and I think he is a fantastic actor). You can tell there is a lot of him in this, and some of the manic-ness of his character Johnny in Mike Leigh's Naked. But, besides that, this book is intense, and I like how it deals with the art world, putting it in a new and gritty light. The characterization is wonderful and after finishing I was stunned for days.
Jul 25, 2009 Teela rated it it was amazing
It took me forever to actually sit down and read, but once I did, I found myself trapped in the novel, managing to stop only once someone pried the book from my hands.

Though it is written in present tense, that fact didn't bother me as much as I had believed it would due to the fact David Thewlis (better known for his role as Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter movies) has a wonderful writing style that bewitched me.

Aug 10, 2011 Jackee rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
So many feelings. I love it; I absolutely did. The language was beautiful and Hector in his own screwed up way was beautiful, and I would pay so much more for a sequel. If only Thewlis would retire from acting just to write. It was dark and creepy and so effed up, but it was wonderful and original.
Angharad Cole
Sep 23, 2012 Angharad Cole rated it really liked it
One of my top ten reads
I could not put it down. Was meant to last me a holiday abroad, but read a page or 2 as soon as I received it and couldn't put it down.
Jenni Vickers
Mar 06, 2017 Jenni Vickers rated it it was amazing
I am shook.
judy weaver
Feb 22, 2017 judy weaver rated it it was amazing
Curb your Enthusiasm meets House of Leaves. I have never laughed so much reading such a disturbing book. the dialogue is like you're in the room. plot, conversations, writing...brilliant!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 10, 2016 June rated it really liked it
This is mainly a satire of the art world and although I don't consider myself to know much about art I still found it enjoyable. It also explores someone's descent into violence.

The thing I love most about this book was the use of language I loved a lot of the phrases that chosen (one favourite "getting on my nerves doesn't do it justice, he's finding footholds on every f***ing synapse) and the way that it seemed to deal with some intricate ideas around philosophy and art in quite a concise way.
P.A. Pursley
Apr 22, 2016 P.A. Pursley rated it it was ok
Shelves: okay
I must say I am disappointed in the book. I guess I was expecting something very exceptional and life-changing since the author is David Thewlis but alas and alack it was just okay. It was weird. I guess seeing into the life of an artist is not all that we really want to know about artists.

The book is about three artists, Hector Kipling, Lenny Snook, and Kirk Church and how they deal with each others successes and failures in both their professional and personal lives. Interesting but not one I
Jul 11, 2013 Retrovold rated it really liked it
Shelves: drama
I have read it whole in David Thewlis voice, I am not ashamed to admit that. It was interesting book, that must be said.

I have, of course, read it because Mr. Thewlis is by my opinion one of the best actors we have and I was thrilled to get hold of this book, which to be honnest was little too difficult and little too expensive.

Despite it all, it is so clever in art that you may feel either shamed or little too excited, it's a satire with lot of insides into the rotten mind of artists to which
Andrea Arbit
Started this because author David Thewlis played creepy-looking Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter films, stayed because the voice was so delightfully British. Much like J.K. Rowling's Hagrid, I could just hear Hector Kipling's accent in my head as I read his narration.

And then there was the crazy built-up plot. Man. There were some great lines/commentary in this thing about life and art and death and self-imposed drama and be-careful-what-you-wish-for sentiment.

4.5 stars.
Mar 05, 2015 Reanne rated it it was ok
I read this book shortly after it came out, though I don't remember exactly when. I'm reviewing it now several years later, but my overall impression was that this book was like a horrible traffic accident: it's ghastly but somehow I couldn't look away. It's just very weird, and not really in a good way. The protagonist and all the characters were unlikable, and the plot unraveled into something entirely nonsensical at the end. Maybe if you're really into 'literary' novels of a certain type you ...more
Had its ups and downs- a kind of cross between Monty Python, Tom Wolfe and Dostoyevsky. I also found it similar in atmosphere to the Mike Leigh film "Naked", which Thewlis starred in. The first two thirds of the book were ok but a bit predictable. But the momentum built and I really got into into it about 3/4 of the way through. Sadly I thought the didn't like the apocalyptic ending which I found flat. But Thewlis is a talented writer and for all its faults I liked reading this novel. Thewlis us ...more
Nov 22, 2014 j. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, in-english, own
This is a terrific book! David Thewlis is a wonderful writer and I found myself highlighting more lines that I usually do in books. Also, I really took my time reading this because I wanted to savour every page.
The story starts out fairly normal and becomes more and more absurd with the weirdest things happening. I would have never been able to think of even a few of these things. It took me a while to get into the humour but soon, I found myself laughing out loud at quite a few lines.
If David T
Mar 05, 2011 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book was brilliant. It was refreshingly weird, and at times I laughed so much I had problems to read in public. Definitely a book I'm going to read again. It could be interesting to see what I make out of the book in a year or so.

I liked the first 3/4 best. Chapter 2 was my favourite. I'm not sure if I liked the ending (or even fully understood it), but I'm glad the book didn't have a happy ending. Poor Hector.
Jan 01, 2008 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is well written. So well written in fact that Thewlis can easily put you into a depressive mood in a few chapters. His main character, Hector Kipling, continually makes bad, bad choices. I have to admit I viewed his downward spiral with a voyueristic appeal, which in turn backfired on me and made me feel shitty. Thewlis has written a novel of self-realisation and mental psychosis that is quite affecting.
Pleione Pi
May 02, 2013 Pleione Pi rated it it was amazing
So, it's kind of a weird story - or Hector Kipling is weird, I don't know. But the story is so interesting and it is so well written. There's an amazing plot twist so you're just never bored. I really hope David Thewlis is going to write another book because he's good. He's really good. So, this is very interesting, very different from everything I've ever read but I sure don't regret reading it.
Oct 26, 2015 Bethan rated it liked it
This isn't my usual genre of book, I picked it up because I recognised the author and was interested to see what he had written. The beginning and the end were good, but I drifted in the middle. The main character was highly unlikeable and I could not see any reasoning behind what he was doing at all. It isn't my type of book, but I can see why some people would find it highly entertaining and funny.
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David Thewlis (born David Wheeler; 20 March 1963) is an English actor of stage and screen, and the author of one novel, The Late Hector Kipling (2007).
More about David Thewlis...

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“I want that. I want that awful intense and serious unhappiness, cos then I might feel better, and then I might be happy.” 29 likes
“I walk to Oxford Street and climb on the number 8. It's freezing and it starts to rain and it's the ugliest bus I've ever seen, rattling down the ugliest streets, in the ugliest city, in the ugliest country, in the ugliest of all possible worlds.” 11 likes
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