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The Man Who Lost Himself

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  24 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Henry De Vere Stacpoole (1863-1951) was a Victorian period author, born in Kingstown, Ireland. A ship's doctor for more than forty years, Stacpoole was also an expert on the South Pacific islands. His many books contained detailed descriptions of the natural life and civilizations which he was so close to at home. The Blue Lagoon (1908), is a romance novel, the first of a ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published May 22nd 2009 by Dodo Press (first published 1918)
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4.5 Stars

This is a wonderful story about a penniless American man who accidently meets his double in a crowded Hotel lounge. His lookalike "liquors him up" and the next thing he knows he is waking up in a posh bedroom and being called the Earl of Rochester.

At first he thinks its a practical joke and he plays along. But when the morning newspaper arrives, it all becomes clear: 'Mr Jones, the American' (the real Mr. Rochester) has commited suicide...

You have to love Vincent Jones. A down to earth,
Very amusing story of doubles and switched identities--with a bit of clever social satire thrown in.

Victor Jones of Philadelphia has a brilliant idea for a manufacturing deal with the British government, but the deal falls through leaving him stranded in London with hardly a penny. He goes for a last bash at his hotel (whose bill he cannot pay) and meets a man in the lobby whose face "seemed quite familiar to him, so much so that he started in his chair as though about to rise and greet him....
This is the adventure of a lifetime for penniless American Jones. A life-changing adventure. A new identity. One night in a pub he sees a man who looks familiar, very familiar. In fact the man has a face Jones sees everyday in the mirror. Both mutually find this a fascinating and the look-alike to Jones pay for Jones drink, and for another and another. By the end Jones is to foggy to know what's happening and when his head clears in the morning, he is no longer in his lodgings, but in a large fo ...more
Robert Wechsler
Apr 16, 2017 Robert Wechsler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-lit
A well-written twist on the doppelganger/exchange of identities tale. The theme of being lost in another’s identity is handled with fists of ham, but the limited third-person narration works far better than a first-person approach would have. A good read and a good find.
Nov 30, 2014 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henry de Vere Stacpoole was a doctor, a traveller, a poet, a dramatist, a biographer and – on the evidence of this book from 1918 – a very capable novelist.

You may know his name from ‘The Blue Lagoon’ – which I hope is a better book that its most recent film adaptations suggest – but this is a very different story.

It opens in London, where a young American businessman, named Vincent Jones, has not been having the best of times. The business deal that had everything riding on it had not come off,
Sep 25, 2013 Lanelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: out-of-copyright
Victor Jones, of Philadelphia, has been in London now for 3 weeks. It should have only taken one week to secure the contract for his fledging business, but a different company won the bid. Victor has less than ten pounds in his pocket, he owes money to the hotel and he has no idea how he will pay for his return passage to the United States.

Victor sees "a very well dressed man of his own age and build" come into the bar at the hotel. "This man's face seemed quite familiar to him, so much so that
Alisha Trenalone
Very entertaining. Guy gets swapped into the position of his aristocratic lookalike, who has a rubbish reputation, massive debts, and an estranged wife. The aristocrat then goes off and gets himself killed, leaving the clueless stranger (Jones) to carry his name and make whatever he can of this dubious life. Fortunately, Jones is bold and decisive, just the man to redeem a reputation that had gone to the dogs. (If he can also handle the lunatic asylum he gets thrown into.)
Nov 03, 2014 Lora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-lit
I have a new, old, obscure author to explore! Great story telling for the sake of story telling. The plot is entirely implausible, but that is no accident. In fact, its purposeful implausibility is very well done. A great read for all ages and seasons.
Surprisingly interesting - I didn't expect it to be so easy to listen to, somehow. I listened to the Librivox reading, and that's always hit or miss. But the story grabbed me right off and held me all the way through. A fun, light read.
This story has a theme that has since been used in many different movies, switch identities with someone to change your daily grind. There are a few differences in those moves and tis book; both participants are aware of the change and there is typically some exchange of information or coaching to fill the spot convincingly between the two individuals. In this version the ante is upped. Imagine meeting your look-alike one evening, as you sit almost penniless, only to wake up the next morning wit ...more
Jan 23, 2017 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining story about identity switching between two strangers. One is Jones, a down-on-his-luck American, who, never-the-less, is very practical, bold, moral, and a great judge of character. The other is Rochester, a well-known English Earl, who has nearly run-down his family's wealth because of his dastardly friends and his own lousy judgement, and his sweet lovely wife has moved out because of his philandering. The two just happen to look exactly alike, and the Earl pulls a mean trick on J ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Laura marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Tweety, Misfit
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
Perry Whitford
Aug 06, 2014 Perry Whitford rated it liked it
Victor Jones of Philadelphia was down on his luck. In London to secure a deal for his company with the British government, he had just been informed of failure. He didn't even have enough money left to pay for his hotel let alone pay for his passage back home.

But his luck was about to change, only not necessarily for the better, for he was about to be brought face to face with his own mirror image, a lord of the realm and inveterate practical joker, the Earl of Rochester.

They go out on the town,
I was intrigued by the synopsis of this book: two strangers, one poor and one rich, who find they resemble one another change places with each other. It is a well-known plot device, but it was free on Kindle, so here was nothing to lose! I really enjoyed it, the hero made the best use of his situation, my only complaint is that the ending was a bit rushed.
Dec 08, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This was great. I loved it. Although entirely improbable as a story in real life, the plot was very original and completely entertaining. The only thing that would have made it better for me would have been if I had actually read it instead of listening to the audio at night in the dark while falling asleep. Still, it was a nice way to fall asleep!
Sep 23, 2010 Helen rated it really liked it
Shelves: librivox-books
I listened to this on librivox. It is very convoluted story that kept me engaged to the end. The reader is excellent.
Sharon Fisher
Oct 12, 2012 Sharon Fisher rated it it was amazing
intense, not for everyone
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Henry De Vere Stacpoole (9 April 1863 – 12 April 1951) was an Irish author, born in Kingstown (now Dún Laoghaire). His best known work is the 1908 romance novel The Blue Lagoon, which has been adapted into feature films on three occasions.
A ship's doctor for more than forty years, Stacpoole was also an expert on the South Pacific islands. His books frequently contained detailed descriptions of th
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“...he was presently rewarded with the sight of the present day disgrace of England. Out of the bathing tent, and into the full sunlight, came a girl with nothing on, for skin tight blue stockinette is nothing in the eyes of Modesty; every elevation, every depression, every crease in her shameless anatomy exposed to a hundred pairs of eyes...'That girl in blue. Don't any of them wear decent clothing?' (Victor asks the gentleman seated next to him.)...'The scraggy ones do,' replied the other...” 1 likes
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