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Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse
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Billy Liar (1959)

by Keith Waterhouse

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Billy Liar (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4871130,237 (3.88)69
  1. 10
    Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (chrisharpe)
  2. 00
    Great Short Stories by American Women by Candace Ward (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Interesting to compare Billy with Paul in "The Case of Paul" by Willa Cather.
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» See also 69 mentions

English (10)  Italian (1)  All languages (11)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
This was a very entertaining and interesting book. The lesson learned from this book is: You can tell all the lies you want but in the end, you are only deceiving yourself. It is a cynical portrait of society but you can't but help like the well-developed characters in Billy Liar. Read this book for a very entertaining read. ( )
1 vote EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
This is actually one of the few times when I preferred the movie to the book. Tom Courtenay brings such a fragility to the otherwise unlikeable character of Billy Fisher that I couldn't help but like him. But in the book he's just a self-sabotaging, solipsistic twit. There were a few laugh-out-loud moments in this book as Billy tries to avoid the giant web of lies he's created in all parts of his life. But these were subordinate to the character's essential loathsomeness.

I also think the music-hall patter--it's the main way that Billy communicates with other members of his generation--has not aged well. It's hard for a modern reader to see why such banter would be witty, funny, or subversive in any way. However, Waterhouse's evocative descriptions of a changing Britain are really interesting and spot-on (that is, if Dominic Sandbrook's monumental history of the era, Never Had It So Good, is accurate). Worth reading if not particularly memorable. ( )
1 vote sansmerci | Mar 13, 2013 |
A day in the life of Billy Fisher, serial fantasist and all round loser. Engaged to two of the wrong girls, his workplace sins and emotional failures catch him up on a day that might have seen him escape to something different - but ends up with him back at home, doubtless doing his best next day to dodge the music again. Waterhouse writes of small town Yorkshire life before the Beatles first LP changed everything - an evocative world of dancehalls and narrow streets, that was quickly changing into something different.
1 vote otterley | Aug 21, 2011 |
N ( )
  WenonaSchool | Sep 15, 2010 |
Keith Waterhouse has just died and with his passing there is a loss to the English language. Billy Liar made me laugh a lot when I first read it. ( )
1 vote jon1lambert | Sep 8, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Keith Waterhouseprimary authorall editionscalculated
Facetti, GermanoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Lying in bed, I abandoned the facts again and was back in Ambrosia.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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To Billy Fisher, Stradhoughton is one long subtopian cliche - a bad Yorkshire joke. The dimmer his surroundings, the more fantastic are his compensatory day-dreams.

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Valancourt Books

An edition of this book was published by Valancourt Books.

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