Condon, Richard 1915–1996
Condon is an American novelist, screenwriter, and playwright who currently resides in Ireland. His work attacks the absurdity and clichés of modern culture, especially concerning organized crime, motion pictures, corruption, and violence. Inventive and entertaining, his humor is based on exaggeration and excess. But it is a painful humor, undercut with despair and concern for moral values. A highly readable author, Condon is gaining popularity, attracting an almost cult following. (See also CLC, Vols. 4, 6, 8, and Contemporary Authors, Vols. 1-4, rev. ed.)
Richard Condon has tireless wit (though sometimes it fatigues the reader) and must enjoy what he is doing without necessarily believing it. And what he does can be fun—Nabokov without tears. (p. 10)
From internal evidence, one judges that [Condon] knows full well what he is doing, even if he might prefer to be doing something wise rather than shrewd. He bills ["Bandicoot"] as the companion to "Arigato," which is one I missed; but burrowing "as fast as a man can dig"—as in the description of the Australian rodent, the bandicoot, printed in the front of the book—I seemed to make sufficient sense, or nonsense, of an entertainer's latest entertainment.
Here … we have world...
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Condon is a romper, and [Bandicoot] is one of his wilder and funnier romps. The plot? Forget it! The story concerns a gambling-mad ex-British naval captain, Japanese industrialists (they stretch their Rolls-Royces a few feet to make them the world's longest), oil deposits under Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Unlike other writers of improbable derring-do, Condon gives lots of little side essays on such things as ballooning, opal mining, haute cuisine, and sexual positions.
William Cole, "A Romper," in Saturday Review (© 1978 by Saturday Review Magazine Corp.; reprinted with permission), March 18, 1978, p. 55.
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Satire is always difficult to write and often is difficult to understand. We have read the works of many authors who have failed in their attempts; not Condon. He's a master at it…. In a very funny, wild chase across the Australian outback—including a flight in a balloon—Condon pulls out all stops [in Bandicoot]. Condon deals in impossible situations but he makes them very plausible—and funny. (p. 31)
Rick Davis, in West Coast Review of Books (copyright 1978 by Rapport Publishing Co., Inc.), Vol. 4, No. 3 (May, 1978).
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[Bandicott] has some very funny redeeming qualities: Yvonne Bonnette, the hero's mistress, has the body of "a ripened Nereid every square inch of whose skin was an erogenous zone." In the boudoir, when not otherwise engaged, she plays the saxophone…. Such humor, however, is sporadic in Bandicoot. And even when it surfaces, sometimes with rib-tickling effect, it is undermined by Condon's complete lack of restraint. A less experienced writer could be excused for this overkill of mirth, but one expects more from the veteran author….
Condon stuffs [this novel] with humor—outrageous, more outrageous, most outrageous—until … it explodes and sputters into oblivion. (p. 101)...
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