For William 'Billy' Fisher, an energetic imagination makes life tolerable, but well-nigh intolerable for all around him. He lies his way into and out of every situation, making any promise to get him out of trouble, thereby creating ever more tortuous entanglements to be wriggled out of in the future.
Billy dreams of escaping the dull drudgery of his life at home with his parents and grandmother in the monotony of his stifling Yorkshire hometown. He has three fiancées and a truly dead-end job as an undertaker's clerk, but dreams of becoming a writer for a comedian and escaping his everyday life. Unable to separate fantasy from reality, Billy becomes embroiled in a mess no lie will eradicate; the web of lies will bring many a chuckle to listeners, but will the outcome of his mistruths be quite as funny to Billy? Quasi-comic, this novel has enjoyed many interpretations, as a film, play, musical, TV series and now, an unabridged audiobook.
©1959 CSA Word (P)2011 CSA Word
Billy Fisher has a remarkable imagination. This gets him through the day!
For those around him, Billy's imagination makes life very difficult.
He lies his way through every situation, constantly promising what he cannot deliver.
Billy dreams of liberating himself from the drudgery around him.
If I hadn't of been studying this book, I would not have continued listening to it.
Cat lover heavy metal lady. Bolton, UK.
I enjoyed this very much and was sorry to reach the end. I am a Lancashire lass but related very well to the setting and culture and ordinary people of Yorkshire and the era this was set in, having grown up then myself. Billy is endearing, pitiful and horrible in equal measure. The writing is also down to earth, prosaic and poetic in equal measure. A story with parts that are almost Monty Python, but also a haunting book in a certain way. I doubt that anyone who has read this will forget it. John Simm reads it perfectly and makes it real. His portrayal of every character is wonderful.
Yes - it's the unusual combination of a classic novel which is hugely entertaining, and John Simm's performance takes the experience to a whole different level.
It's a product of the 60s, so could be compared to 'Look Back in Anger', 'Poor Cow' or 'Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner' or other books from the 'kitchen sink' genre, but it really is unique in its characterisation and its combination of comedy, escapism and social commentary.
John Simm's narration is spectacularly good - getting a really classy actor to read an audiobook is one thing, but Simm inhabits the main character in a way I've not heard another actor achieve. He simply is Billy. His accents throughout are pitch perfect, but it is his performance as Billy which is the real standout.
Yes, if I could have I would.
Hugely entertaining, highly recommended.
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