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Indecent Exposure A blazing satire of South African apartheid Indecent Exposure is Tom Sharpe's brilliant follow up to his Riotous Assembly Once again the setting is Piemburg the deceptively peaceful looking capital of Zululand where Kommandant van Heerden Konstabel Els and Luitenant Verkramp continue to terrorize true Englishmen and even truer Zulus in their relentless search for a perfect South Africa Black Humor That term is redefined by this Tom Sharpe novel Set in apartheid SA the uest for perfect White SA by Lt Verkamp the bumbling Kommadent van Hardeen's dream to be treated as true blueblood British the maniacal Dr vom Bliemstein's passion for turning any ordinary situation into a psychartist lesson leaves the reader in splitsTom Sharpe managed to keep in splits while simultaneously shaking my head and asking myself can this really happen? Sometimes a bit over the top the basic understanding a person must have before reading this book is to keep common sense out of the doorRip roaring comedy 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 Pythonesue send up of the country’s police force published in the same yearThe 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 AUTHORKommandant 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 lampooningBUGGER BUGSLuitenant 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 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 techniue 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 MADNESSWill 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 TURNMeanwhile 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 BRITISHThe 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” POTPOURRIPsychiatrist 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 2013I 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 This book is the seuel to Riotous Assembly and really keeps up the scathing and farcical attacks on the Apartheid regime It is Tom Sharpe at what i think his most cutting as through the jokes and ridiculous situations you can his views on such a deplorable system and the society that acted as if it was totally acceptable There is really no way to describe the storyline apart from my golden rule that I dont give away the plot or that there are no doubt far better reviewers than myself out there the situations the various characters find themselves in is totally impossible to describe while keeping any sense of reality yet when you read the story they make perfect sense for me this is a style that the likes of Douglas Adams made famous but is not the soul exponent of this is vintage Sharpe Okay the world has moved on Apartheid in its public form no long exists although we all know it hides behind other names and other faces now in fact the Africa depicted in these books has now be consigned to the history books yet still it is a fun read while reminding you of a much important message This hilarious depiction of the stupidity and brutality of the old South African Police is one of the funniest books I have read in uite a while It will certainly never be picked as the assigned book for Afrikaaner Pride Week and the Enlish don't come out so great either but it is one of those laugh out loud funny books that you should think twice before reading it in public lest the folks around you think that you are a bit touched

  • Paperback
  • 247 pages
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Tom Sharpe
  • English
  • 13 April 2015
  • 9780871131423

About the Author: Tom Sharpe

Tom Sharpe was an English satirical author born in London and educated at Lancing College and at Pembroke College Cambridge After National Service with the Royal Marines he moved to South Africa in 1951 doing social work and teaching in Natal until deported in 1961His work in South Africa inspired the novels Riotous Assembly and Indecent Exposure From 1963 until 1972 he was a History lectur


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