The Gentleman by Forrest Leo is a book I randomly bought whilst I was in Tokyo recently, and purchasing it was one of the best decisions of my life. The book follows the story of Lionel Savage, who is an eccentric poet who finds himself in dire straits on the financial front. He marries Vivien Lancaster, who comes from an extremely wealthy family — but, he finds that his ability to write poetry has now diminished. In a strange turn of events, he sells his wife to the devil and goes on a quest to rescue her and win her love.
This is without a doubt, one of the funniest books that I’ve read in a long time. Leo’s dialogue is brilliantly funny and I enjoyed reading the exchanges between the characters. The combination of wit and madness had me laughing throughout.
The characters are also extremely entertaining. It’s hard to be mad at the protagonist, Lionel Savage, even though he married for money, despises his wife (supposedly) and then accidentally sold her to the devil. His personality is full of charm and he has the ability to win readers over with his humorous one-liners. Lionel’s sister Lizzie is also an intriguing character in the book. Her badass attitude and confidence, mixed with Lionel’s wit, was a wonderful combination. Special bonus points go to Simmons for recognising Lionel is a madman but choosing to roll with the punches — even when things get outrageous.
The narrative is surprising and I found it hard to predict the next twist (even if the signs were there and I missed them). As the story progresses, Lionel and his team of eager adventurers keep finding themselves in the strangest situations — and I absolutely loved that no one ever doubted Vivien being taken by the devil, they all acknowledged it as a normal thing that happens and not at all crazy.
The whole time I was reading the novel, I was envisioning it as a screenplay. Visually, the book would come to life beautifully either on television or live.
If you’re looking for a book that’s wrapped up in humour, The Gentleman will keep you entertained for hours on end.
Release date: August 1st 2017 by Penguin Books (first published August 16th 2016)