Fowler's End
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Fowler's End

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  42 ratings  ·  6 reviews
An amazing comic novel by Kersh (Night and The City). It's the tale of a young man who enters the peculiar underworld of Cockney Theatre, and quickly finds himself wrapped up in scams, treachery, nitro-glycerine and midgets. This bawdy, rollicking novel, featuring in Sam Yudenow the most fittingly peculiar dialogue since Sheridan's Mrs. Malaprop graced the stage, is the la...more
Published 1957 by Simon and Schuster
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Fowlers End is in London's outer suburbia and is quite possibly one of the most hellish places imaginable (geographically in the Edmonton/Ponders End area): a steel tube factory, a glass factory, the smokiest railway terminal in London, and a hideous chemical plant. It is in Fowlers End that Sam Yudenow, the proprietor of the Pantheon cinema, employs Daniel Laverock who, despite a ferocious appearance, is an educated middle class family failure, to manage the place.

The story is told from Daniel...more
Aamil Syed
I took this book up on a whim and I'm really glad that I did. This is my first Gerald Kersh book and I can safely say that it won't be my last. After a few pages of struggle to get used to the Cockneye slang and the manner of speaking of the natives of Fowler's End, this book was a good roller coaster ride; some introspection interspersed with the antics of some really weird characters that bring a lot of color to the story and add that dash of British humor that the I so like.

The story is about...more
A strange, smart, fun and overly-long book. While not among Kersh's best, it still radiates real human heat and light, it still sparkles with keen wit and detail. While definitely from Kersh's later period (1957), Fowler's End seems to be in the transition period - before he went into stranger and more speculative territory, yet long after he ever had a chance to be a major literary star with his realistic war novels (which were great). His obscurity is because his subject matter is gritty, rob...more
A great twentieth century writer and this is probably his best. Why he is out of favour is beyond me. Anthony Burgess said Fowler's End was "One of the best comic novels of the century, with Sam Yudenow as superb a creation (almost) as Falstaff."

The novel opens with Yudenow:

Snoring for air while he sipped and gulped at himself, talking between hastily swallowed mouthfuls of himself, fidgeting with a little blue bottle and a red rubber nose-dropper, Mr Yudenow said to me -

Well, if you want to fin...more
Jim Butler
Mar 02, 2008 Jim Butler rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jim by: Lola Weitzman
A young friend who worked for Simon & Schuster (we were all young in those days) gave me an advance copy of this book and urged me to read it. I've been recommending it (and rereading it) ever since.
Lots of Cockney rhyming slang.
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Gerald Kersh was born in Teddington-on-Thames, near London, and, like so many writers, quit school to take on a series of jobs -- salesman, baker, fish-and-chips cook, nightclub bouncer, freelance newspaper reporter and at the same time was writing his first two novels.

In 1937, his third published novel, Night and the City, hurled him into the front ranks of young British writers. Twenty novels la...more
More about Gerald Kersh...
Night and the City Nightshade & Damnations Men Without Bones Prelude to a Certain Midnight Karmesin: The World's Greatest Criminal -- Or Most Outrageous Liar

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“ Yudenow was a controlled panic of self-preservation on two uncertain legs; abject slave to a mad desire for what beasts know as blind survival.
A comical beast, I thought, but asked myself, 'Why prolong mere living for its own sake?' The question answered itself: 'Because a beast is blind.' In Yudenow's case, he was animated by nothing but a terror of Nothing, a horror of ceasing to be; by a hopeless desire to evade consequence and issue, parry cause and duck effect. But he had - and you can read it in the faces of defeated fighters, doglike to the verge of tears in the outer offices - the hope-against-hope that, by fiddling and scraping against all the odds of the world, his ringcraft might outmaneuver the inevitable.
And do you know what? There is the Spirit of Man in this - good, bad, or indifferent, a certain heroism.”
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