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Indecent Exposure (1973)

de Tom Sharpe

Séries: Piemburg (2)

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748922,275 (3.86)6
Once again the setting is Piemburgem, the deceptively peaceful- looking capital of Zululand, where Kommandant van Heerden, Konstabel Els and Luitenant Vekramp continue to terrorise true Englishman and even truer Zulus in their relentless search for a perfect South Africa. While that great Anglophile, Kommandant van Heerden, gropes his way towards attaining true 'Englishness' in the company of the eccentric Dornford Yates Club, Luitenant Verkramp, whose hatred of all things English is surpassed only by his fear of sex, sets in motion an experiment in mass chastity, with the help of the redoubtable lady psychiatrist Dr von Blimenstein, which has remarkable and quite unforeseen results. The Kommandant, hunting the fox in the Aardvark mountains, succumbs to the bizarre charms of Mrs Heathcote- Kilkoon, as Luitenant Verkramp's essays in counter- espionage backfire in the bird sanctuary. Once more, Konstabel Els, homicidal to the last, saves the day- or what's left of it- in one of the most savage hunts ever chronicled in fiction.… (mais)
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» Veja também 6 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Brutally bawdy, crude, racist, sexist, violent & can be read as vilely unpleasant (especially post-Apartheid/Mandela leadership); or, read for the comedic input of the author's grotesquely absurdist and mocking scenes of a South Africa that at the time was rightly a pariah state.
Make your own minds up. ( )
  tommi180744 | Aug 28, 2019 |


Farcical and preposterous - Monty Python slapstick, anyone? Recall the year 1973 as the heyday of John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and the Pythons. There must have been something in the air or water back then since Indecent Exposure, British author Tom Sharpe’s second novel set in South Africa featuring a Pythonesque send-up of the country’s police force, published in the same year.

The book’s two main characters (and they are characters, you can be sure of that!) are the top ranking police officers from Piemburg, small South African capital city of Zululand: chief of police Kommandant van Heerden, a puffed up buffoon who fantasizes he’s a proper English gentleman and Luitenant Verkramp, a sadistic, power-hungry nitwit. So as not to spoil a reader’s experience of the bends and curves in Tom Sharpe’s well-constructed plot, in the spirit of “and now for something completely different,” I’ll shift to the following batch of scenes and themes:

SKEWERING CONSERVATIVE BRITISH AUTHOR
Kommandant is a white South African, an Afrikaner or what some term a Boer. But he dearly wishes to be an English Gentleman. To this end, the Kommandant reads the stories of Dornford Yates and, when in the privacy of his home, practices British upper class phrases and ways of speaking. It is well to note Dornford Yates was a British author of a series of humorous romances about the English upper classes with their grand houses and powerful motor cars. These Berry books serve as something of an elegy for a bygone upper-class way of life. Throughout Indecent Exposure, Dornford Yates with his nostalgic eye for the "good old days" is a prime target for Tom Sharpe's serious lampooning.

BUGGER BUGS
Luitenant Verkramp attempts to catch the Kommandant engaged in seedy sexual practices or compromising, subversive conversations. And for a very specific purpose: to get the chief of police fired so he can take over as top man. To this end, Verkramp sends a crew out to plant bugs throughout the Kommadant’s house. One of the more hilarious bits in the book. He might as well have sent Laurel and Hardy and The Three Stooges. There’s all sorts of misfires and catastrophes but the Luitenant and his men do have a bug planted successfully in the bedroom and listen in as Kommandant practices his English upper class phrases by repeating them over and over. Headphones in place, Verkramp figures his Kommandant is either going crazy or has turned religious and is repeating a mantra. I read this section repeatedly, howling with laughter each time. Tom Sharpe’s comic writing is such fun.

CLOCKWORK ORANGE REDUX
Luitenant Verkramp swings into action yet again when left in charge while Kommandant goes on vacation. This time it’s a new technique for correcting bad behavior: a combination of drugs and electric shock therapy while showing the patient slides. The problem: most members of the all-white police force are lowering themselves by having sex (raping) black women. Verkramp subjects over one hundred police officers to continuous torture complete with slides of black nudity. Of course, torture is anything but humorous but Tom Sharpe’s comedy comes through at various points, for example: Verkramp’s henchmen driving their patty wagon into the black district to round up good looking girls to be photographed naked. Among the unanticipated results: a number of dead and wounded leading to a race riot. Damn, Verkramp reflects, don’t those black people realize what we're doing is for their own good? Did I mention the Luitenant was a nitwit? Perhaps I should have used stronger language.

ANTI-MARXIST MADNESS
Will Luitenant Verkramp smoke out all those dirty Communist terrorists just waiting for their opportunity to overthrow the government? You bet he will. Now that he’s in command he can set aside conventional restrains that have always held him back; he goes on the attack: a personal blitzkrieg involving imprisoning and interrogating dozens of city leaders, including the mayor and a bank president. He also organizes an undercover network to contrive citywide explosions to finally catch those scheming Commies. In keeping with Tom Shapre's over the top aesthetic, the fallout of the Luitenant’s maneuvering results in, among other ludicrous mishaps, exploding ostriches. Yes, that's right - ostriches blowing up bridges and other vital city works. The details are the stuff of Monty Python. Why, oh why wasn’t Indecent Exposure made into a film? Where's Terry Gilliam when you need him most?

INTELLECTUAL TURN
Meanwhile, oblivious to the chaos in Piemburg, Kommandant van Heerden is off on vacation. He meets up with an instructor of English literature at his lodging. Ah, someone in the novel with some brains! The ensuing conversations between van Heerden and Mr Mulpurgo are priceless. At one point the scholar makes a fau pas and asks if the Kommandant is as black as the newspapers represent him. In reply, the Kommandant yells: “I’m as white as the next man. And if I hear anyone say any different I’ll rip the balls off the swine. Do you hear me? I’ll castrate the bugger. Don’t let me hear you saying such a thing again.” I strongly suspect those lines are not found in Dornford Yates. So much for refinement in our would-be English gentleman.

TRUE BLUE BRITISH
The Kommandant’s choice of vacation spot revolves around his invitation to the estate of Rolls-Royce driving Mrs. Heathcote-Kirkoon, a genuine British upper-class lady. She also invites him to dinner at none other than at the Dornford Yates Club. Initially, her husband, a Colonel Heathcote-Kilkoon, objects: “Don’t you realize it’s Berry Night? We can’t have some damned stranger sitting in on the Club dinner.” Objection overruled. As it transpires, one of the wildest dinners imaginable. As is the fox hunt the following day. Here’s a snatch of action: “In the next few moments Kommandant van Heerden began to think that she must be right. What the great English lady was doing to him must be some result of brain damage. As she stood above him and unbuckled her skirt he knew he was seeing things. I’d better just lie still until it passes over, he thought and shut his eyes.”

POTPOURRI
Psychiatrist Dr. von Blimenstein shows up at the apartment of Luitenant Verkramp wearing a red dress leaving nothing to the imagination (She’s the buxom beauty at the bottom right in the above illustration); Mrs. Heathcote-Kirkoon wears her top hat at all times while horseback riding and other forms of riding (she’s also in the above illustration - the lady with the black hat. You can’t miss her); likewise Kommandant van Heerden and his horse set a record for jumping over walls; last but hardly least, the explosion pictured above is the grade finale, such a fitting climax for Mr. Sharpe's outrageous novel. Sound appealing? If so, you found your author and book.


English satirical novelist, Tom Sharpe, 1928-2013

"I am going fox hunting like a real Englishman, he thought as he dug his heels in a second time. It was the last coherent thought he had for some time. With a demonic lurch the great black horse shot out of the yard and into the garden. As the Kommandant desperately clung to his seat it was apparent that wherever he was going it wasn't hunting." - Tom Sharpe, Indecent Exposure ( )
1 vote Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
Interesting recent discovery. Somewhere between Benny Hill and Evelyn Waugh, Sharpe might not be the greatest novelist but he is an amazing comedian and satirist. Sure, the humor leans towards the coarse and vulgar at times, but this fits the small-minded yet egomaniac characters in the book perfectly. Their sheer backwardness and ignorant nationalist white-supremacist thinking can't work anywhere else than in a society where stupid rules. ( )
  nilsgeylen | Jul 29, 2018 |
always a pleasure to read this kind of funny story ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 1, 2016 |
Tom Sharpe's second South African novel and a brilliant follow- up to Riotous Assembly Once again the setting is Piemburgem, the deceptively peaceful- looking capital of Zululand, where Kommandant van Heerden, Konstabel Els and Luitenant Vekramp continue to terrorise true Englishman and even truer Zulus in their relentless search for a perfect South Africa. While that great Anglophile, Kommandant van Heerden, gropes his way towards attaining true 'Englishness' in the company of the eccentric Dornford Yates Club, Luitenant Verkramp, whose hatred of all things English is surpassed only by his fear of sex, sets in motion an experiment in mass chastity, with the help of the redoubtable lady psychiatrist Dr von Blimenstein, which has remarkable and quite unforeseen results. The Kommandant, hunting the fox in the Aardvark mountains, succumbs to the bizarre charms of Mrs Heathcote- Kilkoon, as Luitenant Verkramp's essays in counter- espionage backfire in the bird sanctuary. Once more, Konstabel Els, homicidal to the last, saves the day- or what's left of it- in one of the most savage hunts ever chronicled in fiction.
1 vote Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Tom Sharpe's second novel returned to the fertile ground of South Africa and the characters of Konstabel Els, Lieutenant Verkramp and Kommandant Van Heerden. Following from the events of `Riotous Assembly', this follows the three leads as they unintentionally wreak havoc across the peaceful suburbs of Zululand.

This is an absolutely hilarious book. Sharpe's real skill is to take seemingly innocuous situations, then, logical step by seemingly logical step morph them into a bizarre and screamingly funny situation. All the steps seem sane and logical, but the end result is as far from it as you can get.

As well as the anarchic humour, there is the serious side. Part of what makes Sharpe's South African books stand out so much above the rest of his oeuvre is his study of the people and attitudes of that place and time. When I first read these as a teenager I could not believe that these were real characters with their casual racism and paranoias. I thought that these were caricatures with attitudes exaggerated for comic effect. I have, over the intervening years, learned that such people really do exist. Sharpe performs an important job by exposing the South Africa of the time for what it was, and satirising it so well.

An excellently written, eminently readable, hilariously funny book with a serious message buried under the laughs. Five stars, six if I could.
 
Deze Engelse kolderschrijver heeft reeds geruime tijd een vaste groep lezers in Nederland. Dit is één van zijn eerste boeken, waarin de grootmeester van het schuttingwoord en het schilderachtige sterfgeval zijn venijn omtrent de toestand in Zuid-Afrika spuit. Alle bekende elementen zijn in ruim mate aanwezig, met dit verschil dat Sharpe's persoonlijke mening een zeer duidelijke rol in de handeling speelt. Luitenant Verkramp tracht tijdens de vakantie van zijn baas, Kommandant van Heerden, zijn promotiekansen te verbeteren door een communistisch complot op te rollen dat er niet is. Verder moeten de politieagenten er toe bewogen worden niet meer met Kaffervrouwen te slapen, d.m.v. een spectaculaire ontwenningskuur van een uitermate zwoele vrouwelijke psychiater. Alles loopt falikant mis. Of de gecompliceerde vertelling van Sharpe van goede smaakt getuigt, mag ieder voor zich uitmaken, geestig en ingenieus is ze wèl.
 
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Heldengedenktag ferierte man in Piemburg, und wie üblich war die kleine Hauptstadt von Zululand ganz unerlaubt heiter gestimmt.
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Once again the setting is Piemburgem, the deceptively peaceful- looking capital of Zululand, where Kommandant van Heerden, Konstabel Els and Luitenant Vekramp continue to terrorise true Englishman and even truer Zulus in their relentless search for a perfect South Africa. While that great Anglophile, Kommandant van Heerden, gropes his way towards attaining true 'Englishness' in the company of the eccentric Dornford Yates Club, Luitenant Verkramp, whose hatred of all things English is surpassed only by his fear of sex, sets in motion an experiment in mass chastity, with the help of the redoubtable lady psychiatrist Dr von Blimenstein, which has remarkable and quite unforeseen results. The Kommandant, hunting the fox in the Aardvark mountains, succumbs to the bizarre charms of Mrs Heathcote- Kilkoon, as Luitenant Verkramp's essays in counter- espionage backfire in the bird sanctuary. Once more, Konstabel Els, homicidal to the last, saves the day- or what's left of it- in one of the most savage hunts ever chronicled in fiction.

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