The Wilt Alternive

This second part of the Wilt serie is a perfect follow-up of the debut of the character Henry Wilt made up by Tom Sharpe. This character is a cynical and close-observing lecturer. He is Head of Department, the department of Liberal Studies, and keeps an eye on his colleagues -who he thinks lead a sad life- more than he does his actual job. Tom Sharpe mentions some of the most absurd and hilarious ideas a mind can think of. One of Wilt’s fellow-lecturers shows his objection against the capitalistic society by pursuading his students to symbolically fuck a toy crocodile. The film made of this spectacle shows an ignorant foreign student, who has no knowledge of the weirdness of his action, lying on the machine which is normally used for the enjoyment of little children moving his hips in an obscene way. When the Education Commettee receives complaints it is up to Wilt to come up with an explanation. As you may understand -I do- this kind of incidents make Wilt even more cynical, if that is possible.

The liveliness of his twenty years of marriage to Eva is nowhere to be found as readers of the first book, Wilt, know. In this introduction of Wilt -five more novels have followed- Henry has a lot of inpratical set-ups in his mind to kill his wife, but will never succeed. In this follow-up again his wife is the victim. Eva decides to let the top apartment of their home to a German student, Irmgard. Of course Wilt is astonished by not only Irmgard’s beauty but also her intelligence as most middle-aged men are by young girls in low-fantasy novels. Although the storyline reminds me of that of American Beauty, Tom Sharpe has the magical talent to transform such a standard concept in a most rare novel. All the drama is left out and when you look to day-to-day situations through Wilt’s eyes a lot turns into comical occasions. A little glimpse of the inside of the mind of Wilt:

He climbed into bed and turned out the bedside lamp. By the time Eva bounced in beside him he was pretending to be asleep. Saturday nights tended to be what Eva called Nights of Togetherness, but Wilt was in love and his thoughts were all about Irmgard.

The writing style of Tom Sharpe is one of the best I have seen in my school carreer. Most literary writers ‘overanalyse’ whole situations and therefore don’t let the characters speek for themselves. Wilt is a realistic personage that appeals to a great number of people and it almost seems as Tom Sharpe has only created the name and surroundings and after this origination Wilt started to make up his own mind about the community. Although I have only read one out of six sequences of Wilt, I can say with honesty that he is my favorite character all times.


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