Viv Tufnell

Published: 2014
Pages: 205
Author: Z, Peter
Publisher: Peter Z
Rating: 3 stars

Most people will enjoy this humorous book, and even more so if they can relate to the main character. Viv Tufnell bats six for Tasmania and appears to be a mix of Geoffrey Boycott and Chris Tavaré. As I judged the success of my own innings based not on how many runs I scored but on how many balls I faced (feel free to use that line Peter Z. in your next instalment), I had no trouble relating to Viv.

Viv Tufnell will seemingly do just about anything to protect both his position in the team and in the batting order. He steadfastly refuses to move up the order and at one stage even comes up with a plan to drop down to seven. His lengths to sabotage his team, the coach and opposition make for some amusing situations and a number of LOL moments.

Sleeping with team-mates’ wives, giving young up and comers passes to brothels and even doing deals with Satan to ruin a rivals Test career are just some of the ploys Viv resorts to. You begin to think that if Viv put as much effort into his game as he does to protecting his position he may be a more successful player.

Apart from fighting with members of his team, Viv also has an ongoing battle with a ‘tech geek’ from Shieldstats.com.au, who loves to produce stats, which amongst other things, point out that Viv scores most of his runs through the slips. So often does he edge the ball that Viv is offered a batting sponsorship from Slazenger. Not for the face of the bat but for the edge. A furious Viv rejects the offer and blames his manager for the whole farce.

Viv’s manager ‘Mick’ often cops the blame for his client’s lack of marketability and the dialogue in the book between the two is a highlight of Viv Tufnell. Mick has two clients in the Tasmanian team and as the other is close to Test selection, Viv thinks Mick is not paying as much attention to the Tassie No. 6. This is where the pact with Satan comes in and is perhaps the only time Viv feels sympathy for one of his diabolical schemes after the player is hit by a truck.

Author Peter Z. has a vivid imagination and manages to keep all of Viv’s stunts believable although not always in good taste. Still as he states that his character is a mix of a few people including Alan Partridge and George Costanza, good taste cannot always be maintained.

There are a few things that cost the book a higher rating, one was that Viv Tufnell’s diary actually ends at page 134. After this we meet some other characters created by Peter Z. and also some essays on mainly Aussie Rules Football. As a fan of the winter sport I found these articles entertaining. Even with that caveat, most will think they are out of place in this book, although they are far from simply being ‘page fillers’. There are also a few typos which have managed to sneak through.

There is no doubt that most will enjoy Viv Tufnell, and if you not a big Aussie Rules fan you can just stop at page 134, and still receive your moneys’ worth. If you would like a copy they are available from CWs friends at Melbourne Sports Books.

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