Richard Curtis

Two Great Books

Anna Karenin

By Leo Tolstoy

Penguin 853pp £1.50 order from our bookshop

Bachelor Boys: The Young Ones Book

By Ben Elton, Rik Mayall, Lise Mayer

Sphere 132pp £2.95 order from our bookshop

During the course of one afternoon, an official on this magazine both asked me to review the Young Ones book, Bachelor Boys, and advised me to read Anna Karenin, which she described as ‘wonderful and really great and it’ll teach you a lot’. Obviously there are great differences between the books. One seems to be a rich novel about adult life and love in nineteenth-century Russia, featuring many complex and serious characters. The other is a higgledy-piggledy comic exploitation book vaguely about student life obsessively featuring four completely juvenile bastards. Nevertheless, I have been reading them simultaneously, one in the bedroom, the other in the toilet, and so my reflections upon them have inevitably overlapped. These are the categories I have considered while working out which is the greater of the TWO GREAT BOOKS.

Royal Shakespeare Company


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