Nikki's Reviews > The Ascent Of Rum Doodle

The Ascent Of Rum Doodle by W.E. Bowman
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, humor, guardian-1000-novels

It is difficult to sustain parody through the length of a novel, even a short (171 pages) one such as The Ascent of Rum Doodle. Yet W. E. Bowman's subtle humor seldom palls and indeed the book grows funnier the further one reads.
The Ascent of Rum Doodle purports to be a report of a British mountain-climbing expedition, and the tone is perfect. Although it was published not long after the conquest of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, it is said to have been inspired by an earlier account of an expedition that took place in the 1930s, and indeed has more of the flavor of that earlier time. The account of the struggles of the climbers to learn the use of their radio sets, and their arguments about using oxygen, seem to belong more to the 30s than the 50s (and are extremely funny as well!)
It is not at all necessary to have climbed a mountain or taken part in any sort of expedition to chuckle frequently and occasionally laugh heartily at this book. Bill Bryson, one of the funniest writers working today, says in his Introduction to this edition that it is "one of the funniest books you will ever read," and I can't disagree. It's well deserving of a place in the Comedy category of the Guardian's 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read.
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Reading Progress

March 8, 2009 – Shelved
Started Reading
June 13, 2009 – Finished Reading

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