Jessica's Reviews > The Gun Seller

The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie
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's review
Jul 26, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: own, gifts, puns, espionage
Read from May 27 to July 25, 2012

It seems as though The Gun Seller is often tagged (dismissed?) as just a silly spy genre spoof, but is that really accurate? Yes, it starts out that way, it's very jovial and light at first, and that's pretty much what I'd been told to expect, so I admit I was surprised at what a genuinely serious ordeal everything became in the second half. And, yeah, Hugh Laurie keeps the book from becoming bleakly depressing with just enough Langisms to go around. Nevertheless, it's still hard to shake the feeling that you're reading two separate novels, very different in tone, that fade into each other just smoothly enough that you don't quite notice it at first.

Part one seems almost plotless at first. Some confusing things happen, and Thomas Lang struggles to explain them away to everyone else, or even the reader, for that matter, but you don't really care, because....well, let me just say that it's surprising how much time Hugh Laurie can spend being overly literal about clichés and common turns of phrase without the joke ever getting old. And then, part two is ostensibly where all the serious stuff goes. The laugh lines become further and further apart, taking a backseat to a none-too-flattering (and surprisingly apolitical, relatively) exploration of the military industrial complex and the horrors of arms proliferation, which Hugh Laurie is also really quite good at!

Of course, the material isn't divided into halves like that in quite a clear cut manner; again, it's a gradual change that only roughly coincides with the actual, physical division of the book into parts. And both of those sound like halves of novels that I would really, really love to read, because Hugh Laurie manages to be fascinating on both counts. The main reason I didn't give this five stars was, well....I have to say, I would've rather read either of those theoretical full novels than this gradual blend of half of each!

Yeah, I suppose I have unnecessarily high standards for Hugh Laurie, but it's only because I know he's so awesome., where's that second novel already?

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05/27/2012 page 18
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