The Stars’ Tennis Balls
While most of you may know him from films like Wilde (1997) (in which he played another Vili Flik favourite – Oscar Wilde), V For Vendetta (2006) and Peter’s Friends (1992); or from television shows like Black Adder (1983-9), A Bit of Fry and Laurie (1987-95), Jeeves and Wooster (1990-3) and QI (2003-), Stephen Fry is also a successful author. Today’s Flik is one of my favourites of his books: The Stars’ Tennis Balls, which was published in 2000.
The Stars’ Tennis Balls is a modern retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo (1844-6). The protagonist, Ned, is basically screwed over by “friends” of his and put in an isolated asylum where he is locked up for years, plotting his revenge.
I will not reveal the entire plot (although, if you’ve read Dumas’ novel, you may have some idea…), suffice to say, this is a story of vengeance. And a good one at that. The language is brilliant (naturally, as it is written by a linguistic genius), the story is exciting and very well told, and Fry’s occasionally macabre sense of humour is evident throughout. I really recommend that you go out and find this book! And, if you enjoy it, why not check out some of Stephen Fry’s other ventures into the world of literature? I can also recommend The Liar (1991), The Hippopotamus (1994) and Making History (1997). For aspiring poets, The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within (2005) is a great guide to writing poetry, or just learning the different metres, rhymes and forms. His two autobiographies, Moab is My Washpot (1997) and The Fry Chronicles (2010) are also great reads for those interested in the workings of this genius’ mind.
So, basically, this has turned into a general recommendation of Stephen Fry’s written work. But I stand by that. However, I believe The Stars’ Tennis Balls is the easiest way into his authorship, and so I recommend that you all read that one first, and then just keep going.