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Kai Lung's Golden Hours (Kai Lung #2)
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Kai Lung's Golden Hours (Kai Lung #2)

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  110 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
As with other Kai Lung novels, the main plot serves primarily as a vehicle for the presentation of the gem-like, aphorism-laden stories told by the protagonist Kai Lung, an itinerant story-teller of ancient China. In Kai Lung's Golden Hours he is brought before the court of the Mandarin Shan Tien on charges of treason by the Mandarin's confidential agent Ming-shu. In a uni ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 242 pages
Published April 1972 by Ballantine Books Adult Fantasy (first published 1922)
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How is it possible to suspend topaz in one cup of the balance and weigh it against amethyst in the other; or who...can compare the tranquillising grace of a maiden with the invigorating pleasure of witnessing a well-contested rat-fight?

Forget the frenetic world of Facebook, the torrent of trivia that is Twitter. This review brings you something different. This review wants you to Relax. This review invites you to kick back, turn off the phone, and enjoy the journey in the company of Ernest Brama
Jun 27, 2008 Michele rated it really liked it
This humble and inoffensive person, whose views could not possibly be of interest to exalted personages who might, by the influence of malign spirits, stumble across them, nevertheless dares to recommend this book as being replete with sayings of remarkable wisdom, such as the following:

"There is a time to silence an adversary with the honey of logical persuasion, and there is a time to silence him with the argument of a heavily-directed club."

"It has been said...that there are few situations in
Jan 26, 2014 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brit-lit
I picked this book up because it's quoted in one of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter / Harriet Vane mysteries, and I love those enough to give anything related to them a try.

When I read the blurb, I thought I'd probably made a horrible mistake. The English author of the 1920's is "famed for his traditional tales of Chinese literature", "exotic fantasies ... filled with corrupt mandarins, beautiful maidens, greedy merchants, alchemical potions, and more." I had a bad feeling I was in for clumsy ham-fis
Didn't expect to like this book so much. I liked the way it began, was intrigued and then lured along in like manner the whole way through. It's the premise that hooked me. Here's Kai Lung, a professional story-teller, who claims he knows a story for every situation in life. He's a bit cocky on that score. He gets thrown in jail, and soon takes on the role of a male Scheherazade, telling stories to save his life. His own story isn't that amazing, but the stories he tells! And it's not even that ...more
Michael Lilliquist
Written by a British writer nearly a century ago about an even more distant time in late imperial China, this book should not be taken as historically or culturally accurate (although it's not that far off the mark) -- but simply as storytelling.

In many ways, "Golden Hours" is very similar to "Arabian Nights." Both are a collection of pseudo-folk tales strung together by a frame story about the fictional storyteller him/herself. In both cases, the stories vary in tone and mood from serious to f
Fraser Sherman
Sep 20, 2016 Fraser Sherman rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
If you have strong objections to "orientalist" fantasy — as the editor of this edition says, it's set in China but it's a fantasy country unrelated to the real China — this probably won't work for you. That said, I enjoyed the story of Kai Lung, a storyteller who (in this volume of the series) is sentenced to death on a trumped-up charge but buys time by constantly spinning stories to suit the mood of the mandarin sitting in judgment. Bramah's writing is droll, elegant and leisurely; my favorite ...more
Jul 19, 2012 sally marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
From Maria Bustillos: Through Orwell I met with two lifelong favorites, Ernest Bramah and Father Huc. Orwell recommends Bramah’s Max Carrados stories, which are not his finest work, yet still engaging. (Carrados, a blind detective, is portrayed in a manner that is too fanciful for me. For example, he can read the newspaper with his fingertips, as if it were braille. My carefully suspended disbelief collapsed like a dying soufflé.) But then I came to find that Bramah also wrote the Kai Lung serie ...more
I had always been curious about this book since Dorothy Sayers refers to it so often, and something recently made me go looking for it. I'm very, very glad I found it! It's a marvel of sly humor and wicked commentary about people in general. The same way I can pick up Murder Must Advertise and see parallels to workplaces I've been in, Kai Lung reminds me that human nature hasn't really changed since either book was written.
The style can be a bit difficult to get through, but it is well worth the
Lucy Barnhouse
I found this book absolutely delightful. I was nervous about Orientalism, but didn't find, in the event, that Bramah exoticized his setting conspicuously, and insofar as Chinese culture was invoked or mentioned, it was not treated as primitive or comic. Although the diction is modeled on translations of Chinese folktales, the rollicking romance is positively Wodehousian, and the mores and social debates satirized are very clearly those of interwar Britain, where Bramah was writing. The result I ...more
Every edition shown says that this book was 1st published in 1972. This is impossible, since Dorothy L Sayers refers to it in Busman's Honeymoon, which was set in 1935.

There must have been an earlier edition. I think I read an edition my mother had.

Anyway, my impression is that, as with most anthologies, it was uneven in quality, but I liked the language overall.
Jul 11, 2012 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful book in which the framing narrative sets up the opportunity for the protagonist to tell a plethora of stories. Drags a bit in the middle, but enjoyable. A British book about China and over a hundred years old, so expect a little Orientalism. I absolutely love the pretentious self-abasement.
Jan 20, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This 1923 collection by an author I've never heard of was great fun. Bramah was a genre writer, and a contemporary of Wells and Conan Doyle, who overshadowed him, but he is a lot of fun to read. This book is a sort of Chinese Arabian Nights - a storyteller condemned to death has to tell the judge a story every day to prolong his own life. The stories are weird and fanciful and very funny.
Beautiful, controlled style, and quite a sense of sarcasm. Unfortunately, it was a bit short on actual substance. It's basically a series of short stories ("folktales"), most of which are moderately interesting, but I found it hard to stay motivated to continue as each short story ended.
Feb 06, 2012 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming, beautifully written and wickedly funny. If Saki had decided to set his stories in ancient China, they might have turned out like these. Kai Lung's Story of The Willow Plate Embellishment is one of the cleverest - and most amusing - explanations - of the origins of blue willow china.
Kai Lung's golden hours by Ernest Bramah (1957)
Oct 14, 2014 meliss marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Maybe some other time. Too densely written for where my head is currently at. This book needs focused, patient reading. It's poetic prose. :)
Rachel Lundwall
Jul 11, 2014 Rachel Lundwall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely my favorite book of the summer so far. The writing is beautiful and imaginative and--if you pay careful attention--wickedly funny.
Alex Weinle
May 13, 2014 Alex Weinle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A tapestry of stories laid within each other, wonderfully thoughtful and spun. As the wise man says, a review may be read once with disbelief but with the second time comes understanding.
Mary rated it it was amazing
Nov 07, 2010
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Jul 16, 2011
Les Wilson
Les Wilson rated it liked it
Mar 15, 2014
Charlie rated it it was amazing
Jun 06, 2012
Mighty rated it it was amazing
Sep 25, 2016
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Aug 05, 2010
Bob rated it really liked it
Aug 09, 2012
Andrea Swinsco
Andrea Swinsco rated it liked it
Mar 23, 2016
Fraser Sherman
Fraser Sherman rated it liked it
Sep 20, 2016
Deforest rated it it was amazing
Apr 16, 2008
Noel rated it really liked it
May 30, 2012
Linda K March
Linda K March rated it really liked it
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Goodreads Librari...: merge books 2 13 Oct 21, 2014 06:51AM  
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Bramah was a reclusive soul, who shared few details of his private life with his reading public. His full name was Ernest Bramah Smith. It is known that he dropped out of Manchester Grammar School at the age of 16, after displaying poor aptitude as a student and thereafter went into farming, and began writing vignettes for the local newspaper. Bramah's father was a wealthy man who rose from factor ...more
More about Ernest Bramah...

Other Books in the Series

Kai Lung (6 books)
  • Wallet of Kai Lung (Kai Lung #1)
  • Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat (Kai Lung #3)
  • The Moon of Much Gladness (Kai Lung #4)
  • Kai Lung Beneath The Mulberry-Tree (Kai Lung #5)
  • Kai Lung Raises His Voice (Kai Lung #6)

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“However entrancing it is to wander unchecked through a garden of bright images, are we not enticing your mind from another subject of almost equal importance?” 12 likes
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