The Fry Chronicles

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 November, 2010, 12:00am

The Fry Chronicles
by Stephen Fry
Penguin, HK$255

Readers will hear Stephen Fry's voice throughout his autobiography, which is its size largely because of his self-professed love of words. Where one sentence will do, he chooses many, never feeling the need to 'prune, pare and extirpate excess growth'. But that is also The Fry Chronicles' beauty. It reads true, not only from the excess of words (many of them well chosen) but also in sentiment: he demeans himself constantly (often deriding his needy, bloated body) but is magnanimous with friends, especially Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson. Sometimes readers will want bile, especially in the bits about his burgeoning entertainment career. But that doesn't seem to be his objective in this, a continuation of his book about his first 20 years, which sees him imprisoned for credit-card theft. Much of the follow-up (of his next 10 years) centres on his Cambridge days, which almost drowns in tales of English privilege. Fry name drops throughout, but in a generous spirit. Even when being critical, such as of the gay scene during Culture Club days, he observes gentlemanly restraint. If Fry has left out pertinent episodes, one can only hope they will be in a sequel.