Anthony Burgess

One Hand Clapping

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Janet Shirley was always impressed by her husband. Even before he began using his special talent to change their lives beyond recognition. The thing is, Janet doesn't want their lives to change that much – she's quite happy, working at the supermarket, cooking for Howard three times a day, watching quiz shows in the evening.

But once Howard unleashes his photographic brain on the world, the once modest used-car salesman can't seem to stop. And what he sees as the logical conclusion isn't something Janet can agree to. She will not consent to Howard's grand gesture.

Written out of Burgess' disgust at western decadence and degradation, One Hand Clapping casts a jaded eye over our values, drawing a conclusion that still resonates fifty years on.

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237 printed pages

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Quotes

    fivehas quoted7 years ago
    be a bit more nice and not be so serious and stern. Then, while he was waiting for the question, Howard suddenly winked at me, and, like a fool, I winked back. ‘#8216;For four pounds,’#8217; said Laddie. ‘#8216;This is in three parts and you’#8217;ve got to get them all right. Name the authors of the following three seventeenth-century books. Hesperides. Religio Medici. Tetrachordon.’#8217; I can’#8217;t show you how he pronounced these names, but he stuttered at them and stumbled over them and tried to make a bit of a joke of them with the audience. But Howard put him right on the way to pronounce them, and said: ‘#8216;Hesperides was the secular poems of Robert Herrick, 1591 to 1674. Religio Medici or A Doctor’#8217;s Religion was by Sir Thomas Browne, 1605 to 1682. Tetrachordon was a book on divorce written by John Milton.’#8217; He smiled in a thin-lipped way, then he said, ‘#8216;Sorry. 1608 to 1674.’#8217; Now, you could see the audience wasn’#8217;t too sure how to take all this, Howard
    Micky Mikehas quoted4 years ago
    Eventually he was discharged from hospital, but his consultant warned him that, for the sake of his health, he should never return to the East. It was evident from this point that his overseas teaching career was at an end.
    Micky Mikehas quoted4 years ago
    years working in the tropical heat as a schoolmaster, he had collapsed in his classroom and been stretchered off to hospital with a mysterious illness.

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