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The Lunatic at Large

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  145 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
The best-bred lunatics in England live in Clankwood, and Francis Beveridge is that community's newest resident. Rather than attending the asylum's Saturday dances, though, Beveridge goes on the lam in London. And thus, when a traveling German noble finds himself at the luxurious Hotel Mayonnaise without a guide to England's customs, who better to escort him than the amnesi ...more
Hardcover, 150 pages
Published March 2nd 2007 by McSweeney's (first published 1899)
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Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This recently reprinted title from 1899 made me feel like such a blissfully irresponsible reader, which was just the thing right now. The story concerns one Francis Beveridge, who may or may not be insane, but is definitely loony. Bundled off into an asylum in the countryside by his supposed caretakers, he cunningly engineers and escape with the unwitting assistance of a bewildered love interest, and proceeds on a madcap jaunt around London under the name of Bunker, leading in tow his good natur ...more
Kyle Pennekamp
Jan 14, 2012 rated it liked it
This is the second time I've read this book, and it might be even more fun the second time around -- once you know that it will never delve too deep, or get too maudlin, or really even spend any time figuring out the backstory of the main character.

It was billed on the back of the very nice McSweeney's edition as the comic masterpiece that linked the Wilde age of British comedic writing with the age of Wodehouse and Waugh. And it is funny as hell. A psychiatrist and his drunken friend are put, t
Padraigh Mchale
This is a funny, dry, quick read, written in the 1890's, about a man breaking out of an insane asylum for the well bred in London. He then hooks up with a German diplomat, and gives him a tour of London. Not only an amusing classic, but historically significant, as well, being both one of the first books turned into a movie, there were three silent films made based on the story, and the book where we get the term "Bonkers", as the alias our lunatic uses with the German is Bunker, and our German ...more
Luke Padgett
Aug 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-the-library
Classic high Victorian comedy! A very funny story about an amnesiac who is sent to an asylum and escapes using his wits. Very English and very good. Written in looping, long winded english verse that takes a little time to get used to and catch the rhythm, but the gist of the story is derived from the vibrant character descriptions provided by Clouston. A bit predictable, but that's not a problem. Fun weekend light read.
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of comedy
So this is where the term "bonkers" came from for people that aren't right in the head.
That's so cool.
Also, the story flows very well, the comedy bits are hilarious, and the characters are awesome.
My only complaint (and why I give for stars, not five) is that such a flashy story should have an ending with much more zazz, not just the quick, cobbled-together feeling the story actually ended with.
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Unexpected choice for me so it was a pleasant surprise. It had a lot of surprises and plot twists, tied together different characters in interesting ways, and developed each character nicely. It was also well-written and funny enough to make me laugh out loud. The last sentence really drove it home. Definite read-again!
Jul 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
"If you ever want to know how ample a thing life can be, become a certified lunatic! You are quite irresponsible for your debts, your crimes, and, not least, your words. It certainly enlarges one's horizon."
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. Came across a 1924 edition in the library. Protagonist is quite the charmer -theres a new twist every few pages.
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A piece of typical Victorian frippery, which in the 21st century loses some of its charm and comicality.

Mr Francis Beveridge, the escaped lunatic, meets up with the German Baron von Blitzberg, whose broken English becomes somewhat wearing as the novel goes on, trip around Victorian London, mostly causing chaos wherever they go. They also visit the seaside and a stately home all of which give rise to the lunatic's antics.

Whilst not completely unreadable, it is a relief when the book is finished .
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Amusing if somewhat slight novel about the antics of an amnesiac who awakens from a daze to find him confined to an asylum, escapes, and goes for a wild romp about London with a German nobleman. A few very choice parts, and much good slapstick.

The introduction by Jonathan Ames is notable for its striking insipidity. One generally enters into introductions by well-known authors with low expectations, but this doozy is a catalog of unbearable writing. It makes me feel sorry for anyone who's ever b
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
This is such an old book, over 100 years old but a lot of the humor still holds true today. I especially loved learning some archaic vocabulary and had to look a few up. This book is full of dry wit and tongue in cheek humor but it's by no means a page-turner. Just mildly interesting. We read it as part of of our book club just to try something very different.
Jul 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
The introduction-- by Jonathan Ames-- puts Mr. Clouster between George Bernard Shaw and P. G. Wodehouse. It's part of the Collins library-- so how could I pass that up? It's proving hard to get into.
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
I was excited to read this book - it seemed like a timeless piece of comedy. But, I think my sense of comedy is bounded by the 1970s and 1980s - I don't have much Buster Keaton in me. It was tough for me to get through, but would be a fun read for fans of that era of comedy.
Nick Duretta
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it
This was light and fun, although not quite as off-the-wall as I was expecting. I can certainly see the influence on P.G. Wodehouse.
Jan 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Nice, pre-Wooster Victorian high jinks. Right up my alley.
Katie Knight
Nov 03, 2009 marked it as to-read
I keep trying to read this book, and I keep failing. It's just not the right time, I suppose.
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
Lovely, British humour, like "Three Men in a Boat".
Maggie Leschuk
Aug 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is a cute, old school, comedy. I was really suprised how much of a quick read it was.
Tim Hainley
Feb 07, 2008 rated it liked it
You had me at "Introduction by Jonathan Ames", but as it turns out, the novel was pretty decent in its own right. Another fun little selection from the Collins Library.
Apr 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who appreciate a good old-fashioned yarn
lovely, silly, humerous, & written in the special way that reminds you what language used to feel like on the page.
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Jolly and lightly amusing.
Sep 21, 2015 rated it liked it
A jolly romp concerning lunatics,imposters, and funny foreigners. Can I say that nowadays?
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Dec 03, 2007
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Joseph Storer Clouston, although born in Cumberland, was classed as an Orcadian author and historian as he originally came from an old Orkney family.

He was the son of psychiatrist Sir Thomas Smith Clouston and his wife Harriet (nee Storer). He was educated at Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh and Magdalen College, Oxford. Although he was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in London in 1895, h
More about J. Storer Clouston

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“By Gad,' exclaimed Welsh, 'I’d manage a nunnery for £500!'

'I daresay you would, but a suicidal, and possibly homicidal, lunatic isn’t a nunnery.'

Welsh looked at his friend with diminished respect.”
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