Review published on September 12, 2018.
When I read Reg Seward’s review of The Specialist I was reminded of its joys and immediately felt a need to take my copy from the bookcase and re-read it. I was given my 1944 edition in the mid ‘60s, have read it numerous times and never tire of its delightful quirkiness and homespun wisdom, all the insights into the thought which Lem Putt gave to designing “privies” and the pride he felt when surveying his subsequent creations. Over the past five decades, I have enjoyed buying copies for friends, all of whom have found it equally delightful, not only for the amusing narrative but also for William Kermodes’s wonderful illustrations. The Times Literary Supplement described it as “…. innocently Rabelaisian”, a succinctly apt description. So, like Reg, I urge you to try to track down a copy and enjoy its delights for yourself.
The author did write a sequel, The Master Builder, which, although written in the same conversational style, focuses more on Lem Putt giving advice to young businessmen. It is still an amusing short read but somehow lacks the charm of The Specialist.
Linda Hepworth 5/2
The Specialist by Charles Sale
Souvenir Press Ltd 9780285632264 hbk Oct 1994
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