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The Antipope (1981)

Tekijä: Robert Rankin

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
7371030,541 (3.64)20
'Outside the sun shines. Buses rumble towards Ealing Broadway and I'm expected to do battle with the powers of darkness. It all seems a little unfair...' You could say it all started with the red-eyed tramp with the slimy fingers who put the wind up Neville, the part-time barman, something rotten. Or when Archroy's wife swapped his trusty Morris Minor for five magic beans while he was out at the rubber factory. On the other hand, you could say it all started a lot earlier. Like 450 years ago, when Borgias walked the earth. Pooley and Omally, stars of the Brentford Laboiur Exchange and the Flying Swan, want nothing to do with it, especially if there's a Yankee and a pint of Large in the offing. Pope Alexander VI, last of the Borgias, has other ideas...… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Fun listen on Audible, with sound effects and all. It was nice to get back to Rankin. Far-fetched doesn't mean that it's less real. ( )
  Lokileest | Apr 2, 2024 |
Had my doubts about this at the beginning. The style of dialogue was a little, I don't know... unusual I think is how I'd describe it, but I soon forgot about that completely and simply really really enjoyed the ride. recommended highly to everyone that needs to escape this shite, unreasonable, ridiculous world for a while. excellent book. can't wait to dive into the rest of the trilogy. ( )
  SFGale | Mar 23, 2021 |
The Antipope by Robert Rankin - average at best

I have no idea why I bothered finishing this, or why I spent a good two weeks forcing myself through such a disappointing book.

I seem to remember reading one of his books in the dim and distant past (before I kept a spreadsheet of my reading) and really enjoying it. I guess I kept hoping this one would improve, after all it is one of "the now legendary Brentford Trilogy". To be fair it was kind of amusing, but I was really looking for something actually funny.

The premise of the story is that Pope Alexander VI, last of the Borgias, has reappeared in Brentford and plans to reassert his power. It's down to a a couple of layabout drinkers and an old professor to thwart him. Cue various 'amusing' adventures and a lot of drinking.

The blurb on the back reckons that this is "a heady mix of Flann O'Brien, Douglas Adams, Tom Sharpe and Ken Campbell". My personal opinion is that he was trying to be like Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett when they wrote Good Omens. Either way, it fails by a mile for me.

( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
What would be your perfect environment? Attempts by people over the years to create theirs have led to everything from social awkwardness to particularly sticky war crime allegations (a sort of extreme social awkwardness, if you will). You start off thinking 'you know what this place needs? More hats!' and end up defending a burning compound while law enforcement and media helicopters circle overhead. Or you can pass a few minor local ordinances about, say, the way certain special days should be observed and end up arrested trying to cross the border into Switzerland in an attempt to flee the holy war you started.

A safer option, if you must landscape and socially engineer, is to at least do it and get high as a kite on glue fumes at the same time. Creating a model railway diorama allows you to exercise a kind of benign despotism over your world whilst at the same time meaning that the only symptoms of tyranny you exhibit are making the trains run on time.

Of course, if you're an author, you can think big. Then you can take all of that energy and confine the attention to detail to a specific location. And if it's a pleasant one, then so much the better. And if it has a pub, you may well be suspected of seeking to create the perfect environment.

In the Brentford of 'The Antipope' Robert Rankin has created a perfect tweed waistcoat pocket universe, a world, or rather town, or rather neighbourhood, of wonder, terror, delight and booze. A guide book to another reality.

Here is a world of public houses overseen by part-time landlords that rightly serve scrupulously kept real ale, the mythical 'Large', which is quite simply a fabulous name for an alcoholic drink, right up there with 'ale' and 'beer'. When a pint of Large is ordered, the reader can picture the perfect pint, the effect of sunlight falling through the fluid as divine as that falling on the floor of a chapel through a stained glass window depicting a wholesome scene, possibly featuring lambs. Landlords who live in fear of the villainous brewery (boo hiss) who wish to interfere with the smooth running of the pub with the introduction of promotions, theme nights and, horror of horrors, a till that actually works.

Here is a world with corner shops staffed by eccentrics who sell not just newspapers but also fine art publications of the sort that are delivered in plain brown wrappers.

Here is a world where decimalisation never happened.

Here is a world where a man can make a living from his allotment, the labour exchange, the bookies and various elaborate scams and schemes profiting from the mysterious events that occur with such regularity in this blessed corner of the world.

Here is a world where shift working husbands, ladders and opportunistic lovers mean romance and danger.

Here is a world where the extraordinary occurs on a regular basis. Rankin's Brentford is the perfect setting for a tale of supernatural horror and ancient evil pitted against a variously plucky, reluctant and eccentric band of residents united in their love of Brentford, and beer. There is something of the pantomime about the novel (oh yes there is!) and if the characters are larger than life it's because they have larger roles than most to inhabit. They may not be aware of it, they may not even want to, but they are here to save the world.

The book's plot is fairly straightforward; an ancient evil resurfaces and seeks to dominate the world starting, reasonably enough, with Brentford. The charm of the book lies in the depiction of a perfect corner of England. Even when ancient evil plots and schemes, it does so in an amusing and stylish manner. The attention to detail is impressive and this, together with the subtle differences to reader's world, make for an immersive, somewhat nostalgia tinged experience.

The Antipope is hugely enjoyable, it's also very funny.

The perfect environment? One might suggest an armchair, a pint of Large substitute to sip, and a copy of this book allowing one, if not to reside in Rankin's Brentford, then at least to visit. ( )
  macnabbs | Sep 22, 2013 |
'Outside the sun shines. Buses rumble towards Ealing Broadway and I'm expected to do battle with the powers of darkness. It all seems a little unfair ...'

The first novel in the now legendary Brentford Trilogy, in which we first encounter Pooley, O'Malley, Neville the part-time barman, the Professor and the other regulars of the Flying Swan. Comedy fantasy at its best, with added sprouty goodness! ( )
  isabelx | Feb 5, 2011 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 10) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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A long finger of early spring sunshine poked down between the flatblocks and reached through the dusty panes of the Flying Swan's saloon bar window, glistening off a pint beer glas and into the eye of Neville, the part-time barman.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (2)

'Outside the sun shines. Buses rumble towards Ealing Broadway and I'm expected to do battle with the powers of darkness. It all seems a little unfair...' You could say it all started with the red-eyed tramp with the slimy fingers who put the wind up Neville, the part-time barman, something rotten. Or when Archroy's wife swapped his trusty Morris Minor for five magic beans while he was out at the rubber factory. On the other hand, you could say it all started a lot earlier. Like 450 years ago, when Borgias walked the earth. Pooley and Omally, stars of the Brentford Laboiur Exchange and the Flying Swan, want nothing to do with it, especially if there's a Yankee and a pint of Large in the offing. Pope Alexander VI, last of the Borgias, has other ideas...

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