Dead Clever? Terminally unfunny

August 2, 1996

I have never before encountered such a lot of malodorous claptrap (Dead Clever by Ted Nield, THES, July 19).

The characters are crudely drawn: Toni in particular appears to be the two-dimensional product of a strained imagination and adolescent fantasy. I particularly dislike the unwelcome innuendo: "Toni returned, bearing her succulent poached breasts". The plot is feeble, incredible and is advanced through some of the most tedious prose ever written. On the basis of these first two instalments the books is noisome and singularly unfunny. Not even at his worst did David Lodge sink to these depths.

If The THES wanted to serialise a campus novel, why not choose Jane Smiley's Moo, a really keenly observed and well-written book?

CATHERINE BRACE Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 2ND

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