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The Throwback is a 1978 satirical novel by Tom Sharpe.
It has been released as a recorded book in two formats: in an abridged version by HarperCollins Audio read by Simon Callow ( ISBN 0001050761) and unabridged by ISIS Audio Books read by Geoffrey Matthews ( ISBN 185695692X)
The plot is based around the ancient Flawse family, landed gentry based at the falling-down Flawse Hall, (near "Flawse Fell") in the wilds of Northumberland, just south of the Anglo-Scottish border. The single remaining family member is a cantankerous octonegarian named Edwin Tyndale Flawse. His illegitimate grandson Lockhart (aka "the Bastard") combines sexual and educational innocence with an alarming propensity for violence when he or his wife is threatened. The old man was born in the late 19th century, and his main aim in the very autumn years of his life is to find the father of his bastard grandchild and flog him to within an inch of his life.
The plot involves the pair making a double marriage while on a cruise, Edwin to the grasping middle-aged Mrs. Sandicott (who desires to marry a very rich old man with as short a lifespan remaining as possible) and Lockhart to her innocent and beautiful daughter Jessica (who knows as little of real life as he does and wants nothing more than a stereotypical male hero).
One plot strand has the older couple moving to Flawse Hall; the pair immediately begin fighting as she realises that the old man has no immediate intention of dying and that Flawse Hall is not the aristocratic seat she imagined. The house has no electricity or modern appliances, and is located miles from the nearest town of Black Pockrington and the nearest railway station of Hexham, and thanks to a clause in her new husband's will which states that although she will inherit everything after he dies, she can never leave or else she'll forfeit the entire estate. The other strand has Lockhart and Jessica moving to Sandicott Crescent in the south London suburb of Purley and fighting an innocents' battle together against the modern world. Lockhart is not at home in his new suburban environment and subsequently loses his job in his mother-in-law's accountancy firm (courtesy of and in retaliation by his mother-in-law when Edwin's will includes another clause stating that if Lockhart ever finds his natural father the entire Flawse estate and inheritance immediately reverts to him) and longs for home. Unable to get another job since he doesn't statistically exist (thanks to his grandfather's refusal to register him with a birth certificate or with the National Health Service), Lockhart embarks on a prolonged, complicated, merciless and ultimately successful campaign to evict the tenants of the houses owned by Jessica so that they can be sold.
The finale has the two strands reunited back in Northumberland and involves the inevitable discovery that the spirit of the Flawse family lives on in "the Bastard" but is spiced up by several deaths, the inclusion of a human taxidermist, extensive use of sound equipment and a vicious battle with the taxmen and "the excise men" (Her Majesty's Customs and Excise Department).
The plot and comedy in the book is typical of Tom Sharpe's writing. The author carefully creates characters and situations such that when the inevitable set-piece is played out, absolute chaos ensues. Lockhart could be said to fit easily alongside the other bizarre central characters in the Sharpe pantheon: classics such as Henry Wilt, Konstabel Els, Skullion, Peregrine Clyde-Brown and Blott.
Additionally, the novel is typical in its use of the tension between exterior social decency and underlying sexual desires and perversions to great comedic effect.
For example, Lockhart, having married the innocent young Jessica, and moving to a suburban crescent of large houses (which she owns but cannot sell due to sitting tenancies), decides that the only way to get rid of the neighbouring tenants is to create absolute mayhem in the neighbourhood. His methods include causing marital misunderstandings, drugging dogs, reversing the flow of sewage, sending sexual toys to old spinsters and adding abrasive chemicals to the inside of a condom. This in turn induces scenes such as the desperate cheese-grating of male genitalia, a full-scale battle between the police and the army, and a high-speed train crash.
Robert FitzRoy, 1st Earl of Gloucester was an illegitimate son of King Henry I of England. He was the half-brother of the Empress Matilda, and her chief military supporter during the civil war known as The Anarchy, in which she vied with Stephen of Blois for the throne of England.
Strand is a major thoroughfare in the City of Westminster, Central London. It runs just over 3⁄4 mile (1,200 m) from Trafalgar Square eastwards to Temple Bar, where the road becomes Fleet Street inside the City of London, and is part of the A4, a main road running west from inner London.
Gaius Helen Mohiam is a fictional character in the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert. She is a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother, and initially appears in the 1965 novel Dune and its 1969 sequel, Dune Messiah. Mohiam also has a major role in the Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy (1999–2001) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
Hexham is a market town and civil parish in Northumberland, England, south of the River Tyne, and was the administrative centre for the Tynedale district from 1974 to 2009. In 2011, it had a population of 11,829.
Lord Emsworth and Others is a collection of nine short stories by P. G. Wodehouse, first published in the United Kingdom on 19 March 1937 by Herbert Jenkins, London; it was not published in the United States. The Crime Wave at Blandings, which was published on 25 June 1937 by Doubleday, Doran, New York, is a very different collection, sharing only three of its seven titles with the UK book. Penguin Books published a UK edition of The Crime Wave at Blandings in 1966. The stories in both books had all previously appeared in both British and American magazines.
"Gerontion" is a poem by T. S. Eliot that was first published in 1920 in Ara Vos Prec and Poems. The title is Greek for "little old man," and the poem is a dramatic monologue relating the opinions and impressions of an elderly man, which describes Europe after World War I through the eyes of a man who has lived the majority of his life in the 19th century. Two years after it was published, Eliot considered including the poem as a preface to The Waste Land, but was talked out of this by Ezra Pound. Along with "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and The Waste Land, and other works published by Eliot in the early part of his career, '"Gerontion" discusses themes of religion, sexuality, and other general topics of modernist poetry.
Mowden is a large housing estate situated on the northern edge of the West End of Darlington.
Thomas Percy was a member of the group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. A tall, physically impressive man, little is known of his early life beyond his matriculation in 1579 at the University of Cambridge, and his marriage in 1591 to Martha Wright. In 1596 his second cousin once removed, Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland, appointed him constable of Alnwick Castle and made him responsible for the Percy family's northern estates. He served the earl in the Low Countries in about 1600–1601, and in the years before 1603 was his intermediary in a series of confidential communications with King James VI of Scotland.
Blandings Castle and Elsewhere is a collection of short stories by P. G. Wodehouse. It was first published in the United Kingdom on 12 April 1935 by Herbert Jenkins, London, and, as Blandings Castle, in the United States on 20 September 1935 by Doubleday Doran, New York. All the stories had previously appeared in Strand Magazine (UK) and all except the last in various US magazines.
The Clocks is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie and first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 7 November 1963 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company the following year. It features the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. The UK edition retailed at sixteen shillings (16/-) and the US edition at $4.50.
Hartburn is a village in Northumberland, in England. It is situated about 6 miles (10 km) to the west of Morpeth. The population as of the 2011 census was 194.
A Demon in My View is a novel by British author Ruth Rendell. First published in 1976, it won the CWA Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year, gaining Rendell the first of six Dagger awards she received during her career, more than any other writer.
Sharpe's Waterloo is a historical novel in the Richard Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell. Originally published in 1990 under the title Waterloo, it is the eleventh and final novel of the "original" Sharpe series, and the twentieth novel in chronological order.
Sharpe's Enemy: Richard Sharpe and the Defence of Portugal, Christmas 1812 is the fifteenth historical novel in the Richard Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell, first published in 1984. The story is set in 1812 during the Napoleonic Wars.
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