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Towards the End of the Morning

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  813 ratings  ·  72 reviews
This tale is set in the crossword and nature-notes department of an obscure national newspaper during the declining years of Fleet Street.
Paperback, 221 pages
Published May 19th 2005 by Faber & Faber (first published 1967)
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3.66  · 
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 ·  813 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Fictional account of journalists working on Fleet Street. I liked it, don't get me wrong but Frayn's updated introduction was more enjoyable than the whole book. The first couple of chapters were fine concentrating on the journalists on Fleet street & gave a pretty good rendition of how newspapers worked - not to mention the long pub lunches, but the end pretty much petered out with the domestic lives of the main characters, and recounting of John's airline screwup of his Persian Gulf trip. ...more
Mientras Leo
Divertido, incluso he soltado un par de carcajadas
Jan 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel, originally written in 1967, is an icredible capture of Fleet Street in London at the end of the 1950s. Fleet Street was the centre of newspapers and this is set in the crosswords section of an unnamed paper. It preserves an era of journalism that is both well dead and lovingly missed. Frayn is a marvelous novelist who got his start in newspapers and there is a quality of nostalgia about the book that is quite moving. As with all of Frayn's work it is about something and something els ...more
Douglas Perry
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
On the cover of my copy of "Towards the End of the Morning" is a quote from Christopher Hitchens: "The only fiction set in Fleet Street that can bear comparison with 'Scoop'."

That’s a nice blurb. But I don’t know how one would go about comparing the two novels. Evelyn Waugh’s 1938 classic, following an accidental foreign correspondent covering a civil war in Africa, is a satire of sensation journalism. Michael Frayn’s 1967 novel, on the other hand, is a thoroughly domestic affair and doesn’t eve
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book reeks of newsrooms smells from before computer screens and photo-setting - anyone who worked in newspapers of that era would recognise not just the characters and the events, but the wasteful, unworldly pace of journalistic life before proprietors were replaced by shareholders and the double tsunami of broadcasting and the internet swept away print journalism as it once was. This book is funny and farcical. And more than a little sad for some of us....
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novela sobre el mundo del periodismo de la vieja escuela. Escrita a mitad del siglo XX, ha sido muy fácil disfrutar con su humor irónico y sarcástico.
Jake Goretzki
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Really quite a likeable period piece, this. I came to it after Andrew Marr mentioned it in 'My Trade' as capturing the atmosphere of Fleet Street in its slow declining days. I'm surprised it was never made into a series. Think: Lucky Jim crossed with a reliable seventies sitcom.

Touches upon class (this being the age of grammar school boys rising and toffs donning gangster accents); TV (feels very accurate), gender (lots of her indoors) and domestic (the ambition to buy somewhere crap and for th
Peter Dunn
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
First published in 1967 this could be seen as bit of a museum piece now in its fictional depiction of live in the media. I say media rather just a newspaper as it also touches on radio and TV. It does leave aside the hard news side of both broadcast and print media, but there are plenty of others who have trodden that path.

This fictional focus on the features, fillers and analysis side of things in the Sixties is endearingly quaint and it is a quick and entertaining read. Yes I have used the wo
Clair Sharpe
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I did not want to read this - I have a pile of books next to my bed that I'm dying to get into but this was my February book club read and I had to read it for the meeting - but I wasn't happy about it!
As it was, it was quite good fun. Towards the End of the Morning is set in the crossword and nature notes department of an obscure national newspaper during the declining years of Fleet Street. The book is evocatively written and I could imagine the cigarette smoke and typewriters of the newsroom.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Michael Frayn's Booker shortlisted Headlong so much when I read it 18 years ago now that I have periodically been tempted to go back to him. The problem is that I've never been entirely satisfied. A great introduction to this book that tells of the pubs and alleyways of Fleet Street in their heyday - an area I myself was to find myself working in at the turn of the millennium - promised much but this turned out to be light satirical fayre when I would have loved to get my teeth into ...more
Feb 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1967
High 3. A humorous and poignant look at the decline of old-fashioned print journalism in the face of the challenge of television broadcasting. The reader is parachuted into the mundanity of John Dyson's work as sub-editor of the crosswords and nature notes department of an unspecified newspaper. In the middle of a mid-life crisis, he is deperate to escape this journalistic backwater and establish his credentials as a broadcaster. Frayn mercilessly pokes fun at Dyson and his office colleagues' fa ...more
Jim Leckband
May 07, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a very "American" novel set in London in the early '60's. "American" because it has as one of its concerns the very American quest for personal transformation. Everyone in this novel is desperately trying to transform themselves. An editor into a TV personality, a reporter into a novelist, a finishing-school (can't get much more transformational than this!) girl into a wife, a housewife into anything but a housewife, a graduate into a press baron.

Fans of the play "Noises Off" will be rem
Wendy Carlyle
Sep 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this in preparation for my first Book Club meet. When I read the blurb it did not appeal and the Sunday Times review ' of the funniest novels about journalists ever written.' gave me a sinking feeling so I was determined not to enjoy this microcosm of life in the crossword and times past section of a minor league newspaper! However after struggling with the first couple of chapters I gradually grew fond of egotistical Dyson and his fumbling sidekick Bob. Mrs Mounce is also a cleverl ...more
John Cravey
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
12 chapters, 94,000+ words

How have I lived this long without knowing about this book and Michael Frayn? I’ve since learned that Frayn has been an eminent playwright for years. But if not for Valancourt Books, I still wouldn’t know about him or his work. I hope Valancourt wins its fight against the U.S. Copyright Office and becomes more prosperous.

This account of London journalists and their families, colleagues and friends is funny and interesting and such a pleasure to read that I had to force
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book took a bit to get into, as it throws you into a chaotic introduction with an expectation that you will immediately keep up. Simultaneously, the beginning reads as slow because you can't care about characters if you can't keep up with them. A few chapters in, this changes and it becomes hard to put down as you follow exchanges between and ruminations of characters who either care too much or not at all. Much of the humor in this book centers around the clash between apathy, ignorance, a ...more
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it
An informative and entertaining look at 1960s Fleet Street, and journalism of old. Some of the scenes represent the funniest fiction I've ever read (Bob's juggling of Tessa and his other female friends; Bob and Tessa's lunch at the Dysons') but other parts are repetitive and a little tedious. The fundamental flaw is that it is somehow impossible to care about, or even side with, any of the characters.
Aldo Scott
Jun 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
I went into this book blind, hoping for a romanticised account of a struggling journalist looking for their next big scoop. It turned out to be something different. I found myself reading through the chapters feeling disconnected to the characters and the story. The rating is more a reflection of my reading experience and less about the quality of the book.
A Severs
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
A comedic tragedy on how futile having dreams and goals can be but how fulfilling life can be in the meantime. Well written but not plot-driven. Equal amount of laugh-out-loud and cringe-through-your-fingers moments.
Jeroen Van de Crommenacker
Not as great as some of his other novels. Set in Fleet street at one of the newspapers, but ultimately the story fizzles out a bit.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Technically, a good book. Beautifully written, but did nothing for me.
Jacqueline Masumian
Very light 1960s British comedy. To be read is only if you are in the mood for a few laughs (very few).
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Because this book made me laugh out loud a lot, I gave it five stars.
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
There’s a quote on the back of my edition of this book from a review in The Spectator which reads: ‘A sublimely funny comedy about the ways newspapers try to put lives into words.’ Let’s break out our blue pencil: funny, yes. This is a very funny book. Sublimely? Not in the Burkean sense, no. And the newspaper bit? No, it isn’t really about that at all. In fact the quote is flat-out wrong in that respect. Which is odd, because this is commonly described as one of the great novels about the pre-M ...more
Jonathan Cornwell-Hogg
Incredibly funny in a late 1970s sitcom kind of way. Absolutely loved it.
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Resuletó ser una comedia sin pretensiones, bien simpática y divertida.
Sandra Pearson
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned
Didn't actually finish it, not my taste
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cracking read - great characters. Very funny in places. loved it!
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
James Dyson, mid-level editor at an ailing London paper, and his underling, Bob Bell, are two overworked and underpaid hacks in Fleet Street in the 1960s, at a time when the newspaper industry in that famous thoroughfare was in terminal decline. They both aspire to greater things, but seem to be stuck in a rut churning out all sorts of titbits and crosswords puzzles that fills the gaps in the newspaper pages.

Besides work, they both have complex family lives. Dyson loves his wife, Jannie, althou
Martha Flanagan
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So extremely funny it is hard to read and breathe at the same time. A wonderful portrait of what London was like in a particular period.
Gina Dalfonzo
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not exactly what I expected -- I thought it would be a novel about journalism, but it was more about journalists and their lives and relationships. Still, it was comedy gold! 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.
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Michael Frayn is an English playwright and novelist. He is best known as the author of the farce Noises Off and the dramas Copenhagen and Democracy. His novels, such as Towards the End of the Morning, Headlong and Spies, have also been critical and commercial successes, making him one of the handful of writers in the English language to succeed in both drama and prose fiction. His works often rais ...more
“Tessa liked her, in a dreary sort of way – the sort of way one liked picking one’s nails or staying in bed all morning.” 0 likes
“Isn’t it rather terrible that what brings the pricking behind my eyelids is not old Eddy’s death, or even the thought of human mortality in general, but certain strokes of rhetoric – certain alliterations, repetitions, and verbal sonorities which don’t hold any literal meaning for me? I’m more moved by literature than by what it describes!” 0 likes
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