PIG OVERBOARD!. . . by Merrily--Ed. Harpur


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For those who find The New Yorker's newsbreaks under the ""There will always be an England"" banner too few and far between, a delightful compilation of oh-so-veddy-British understatement, eccentricity, and well-mannered prose. Though the letters tell humorous stories or pass on quirky observations of nature, most of the pleasure in this volume lies in the correspondents' style. One angler struggled with a hooked fish for nearly an hour and ""failed to make any impression upon it."" Another letter begins: ""SIRS: I have noticed, recently, numerous woolly bear caterpillars crossing the road. This is no purposeless wandering, but an obvious determination to reach the other side. . . ""When the correspondents are purposefully wry, the humor is less sure, and both the illustrations and the titles for the letters are superfluous, if unobstrusive. However, the entire volume is worthwhile if only for the letter from J.J.E.S. of Devon, who, finding a drowned hedgehog, decided to give it artificial respiration. After 45 minutes, it finally revived. The question remains: just how long would he have persisted? These letters to England's magazine for the country dweller were collected and published there last year. Whatever humor is lost in the transverse is more than made up by an outsider's appreciation of the ever-risible British manner.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1985
Publisher: Parkwest (P.O. Box A-10, Cathedral Station, New York, NY 10025)