The Ha-Ha; a brilliant and important social comedy

Is there no end to Tom Shakespeare’s talents? Tom is a world renowned sociologist, ethicist and disability activist – the latter being the main reason why I know of him. And now with the release of The Ha-Ha, his debut novel, a fun social comedy, Tom is now a novelist. And a really good one at that!

The Ha-Ha is funny and definitely cheeky too. Set in an English stately home that has been rented out for a 40th birthday bash, it is the comedy story of a very diverse set of friends and acquaintances, a pig that will happily eat anything, an unrequited crush, and the hilarious lengths some so called friends will take to censor their university antics from 20 years ago.

In writing The Ha-Ha, Tom pays homage to P.G. Woodhouse, who he states in his acknowledgements has filled his ‘days with joy for more than forty years‘. There is no doubt about it, even though there is no valet present within the sharp and witty narrative, there is definitely a modern air of Jeeves and Wooster about this novel.

The story focuses around Fred who has invited his old friends and annoying, politically ambitious brother to help him celebrate his 40th birthday. To mark the occasion Fred has hired out Threepwood Hall, a country manor as the setting for the celebrations. The stately house comes with a pig, as well as a ha-ha. Until reading this novel, I never actually knew what a ha-ha is but now I know it’s a type of sunken wall that was often used in gardens and parks in the 18th century.

Also joining the party is Heather, a big star in the media and Fred’s university crush – a crush, even 20 years on, has never dimmed for Fred. Yet it has always been one-sided. Fred wants to use his birthday celebrations to remedy that. However Heather has recently discovered that Fred is writing his memoirs, with a good chance of them being published. Heather is gravely concerned as any revelations about her that appear in the memoirs could seriously damage her career. And so she will use all her charms and power to stop the publication of the memoirs – at any cost!

Tom Shakespeare

What ensues is a great comedy caper that is fun and engaging. But wrapped up within the light comedy are important messages about how disabled people are sometimes treated and/or spoken to in society. You see, following a car accident not long after uni, Fred was left unable to walk and is now a wheelchair user.

He may not remember me but I have known of Tom for over 20 years, have loosely worked with him, as well as having mutual colleagues and friends in common. He is really highly respected in academia and also in the disability world. As I say, now he can also be referred to as a really good novelist. The Ha-Ha is definitely a book that I will be recommending time and time again, especially for people looking for a fun read.

Thank you Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog post of The Ha-Ha. Thank you also to Farrago for my advance proof copy which I’ll definitely be re-reading. And thank you Tom Shakespeare for writing such a refreshing and important social comedy.

To follow the blog tour, please see below.

Happy reading everyone! 🙂

1 Comment

  1. April 4, 2024 / 4:57 pm

    Thanks for the blog tour support x

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