I thought Longhand was excellent. Andy Hamilton has been writing top-class comedy on radio and TV for a very long time; this is well up to standard.
The book is in the form of a (long) letter from a man to his partner of 20 years explaining why he must suddenly leave. It is difficult to give an outline of the plot without significant spoilers, so I won’t. However, it’s readable, very engrossing, has plenty of very amusing bits which are laugh-out-loud funny in places and has Hamilton’s familiar underpinning of lightly-worn learning and wisdom. Here he takes some of the Greek myths and subjects them to the scrutiny of a modern consciousness, finding a great deal of comedy in their sillinesses and contradictions, but also, as he does so brilliantly in Old Harry’s Game, finding the genuine, sometimes profound human revelations in them.
It’s excellently done and I was completely hooked. The story moves at a good pace and Hamilton’s characters and settings are wholly believable. I loved the little insights that crop up regularly, like this about the big moments in our lives “Weird, isn’t it, how often the climaxes end up feeling anti-climactic. The big scenes never seem quite real.”
The format of actual handwriting works very well, I think. Hamilton always writes his scripts in longhand and has a lovely, readable italic hand. (There is also another clever reason for the title which is lightly revealed early on.) I found the whole book a real pleasure; it’s an excellent piece of work from one of our very best comic writers and I can recommend it very warmly.