This is a digitised reissue of a book by BiblioLife who are aiming to produce books of cultural or historic importance published before 1923. Outspan...moreThis is a digitised reissue of a book by BiblioLife who are aiming to produce books of cultural or historic importance published before 1923. Outspan was published by Heineman in 1897.
I really enjoyed this series of short stories set in the main in Barberton and Swaziland in the 1890s. It is written in a lively colloquial style encapsulating the slang and attitudes of the period. At the time Barberton was the centre of a gold-rush, goods were transported by ox-wagon and 'roads' consisted of trails through bush and over mountains. A railway through the Kaap valley was being built. Sir Percy was a transport driver until he lost his oxen to sleeping sickness and had to take an 'office job' in Barberton, writing a weekly column for The Barberton Herald on the side.
Sir Percy is a good raconteur, and these are campfire stories, some based upon lightly disguised real individuals. For example Sebougwaan, the Englishman dressed in a towel and a monocle, the subject of the first story, did live in Swaziland. The first three stories are excellent, although not politically correct. They are authentic in period, place and people. The last three are more contrived. There is some romance, and a thriller designed to chill. Sir Percy has a very soft spot for children and one Child's utterances would have had the paedophile police descending upon him. Yet this reflects a rather twee Victorian attitude to childhood, which makes me feel rather uncomfortable. I have the same reaction to his dedication in his classic children's book 'Jock of the Bushveld'.
Overall a good light read. It has particular resonance for me as my great grandparents emigrated to this area at that time. (less)
Enjoyable period piece. Miss Morstan presents Sherlock with a problem. On the 4th May 1882 an advertisement appeared in The Times asking for her where...moreEnjoyable period piece. Miss Morstan presents Sherlock with a problem. On the 4th May 1882 an advertisement appeared in The Times asking for her whereabouts. On replying she received a large pearl, and on each subsequent anniversary another pearl (6 in all). She had now received a letter asking for a meeting. The plot involves hidden treasure, murder, betrayal, murder in a 'locked-room', revenge and a chase. In keeping with the period and Empire, India features prominantly. Sherlock sorts it all out and Watson falls in love. What more can one ask for? Oh yes, Sherlock's irregulars headed by Wiggins do play a (minor) part, while Athelney Jones of the Yard makes a complete hash of matters, while ultimately taking all the credit for solving the mystery.(less)
I have the Complete Sherlock Holmes on my Kindle, but for my own use I am dividing the 'one book' into individual novels. A Study in Scarlet is the...moreI have the Complete Sherlock Holmes on my Kindle, but for my own use I am dividing the 'one book' into individual novels. A Study in Scarlet is the first novel introducing Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes to each other and to the reader. An American Enoch Drebber is discovered dead in an empty house on Brixton street. Scotland Yard detectives Tobias Gregson and Lestrade call on Holmes for help, which becomes more urgent when Drebber's secretary is later discovered murdered in their Boarding house. All the relevant clues are there, but it needs someone with more deductive powers than mine to sort it all out. This is a split novel which spoils it. Half way through we are transported to America and to the early Mormon settlement. It is relevant to the mystery, but this long section reads as a completely seperate adventure story in the middle of a detective story. I found it all a bit dated and incoherent which is why I have rated it 3 stars.(less)
I read the novel several years ago as part of an OU course and some aspects of the recommended translation jarred. I therefore ended up with several...more
I read the novel several years ago as part of an OU course and some aspects of the recommended translation jarred. I therefore ended up with several copies at the time (all since donated to charity shops). This new translation reads well.
Set in Russia in May 1859 two years before the emancipation of the Serfs (Feb. 1861), it charts the progress of two friends, Arkady Nikolayevich Kirsonov and Yevgeny Vasilyich Bazarov. Bazarov is a nihilist, interested in science, anti-Romantic, anti-Aristocracy, arrogant, argumentative, rude, and I think quite unpleasant. He has a strong hold over the younger Arkady, and while visiting Marino, Arkady's home, disturbs Arkady's romantic loveable father and angers his 'aristocratic' uncle. The novel works on several levels. The problems as land-owners transfer land to serfs and the class divisions begin to break down. The tension between the various cultural movements, aristocrat/Slavophile, Romantic and Western influenced Nihilist/science which impacts upon the relationships between the generations. The changing relationship between Arkady and Bazarov. The prose is almost poetic. Lyrical descriptions of nature are used to describe the emotional state of the characters and to highlight critical points in the story-line. The only element that I did not like was the long death scene, but then Victorians loved death scenes. (less)
Very interesting. Following the traditional genre of advise on how to be a good ruler, Machiavelli departs from the Christian precepts and goes for re...moreVery interesting. Following the traditional genre of advise on how to be a good ruler, Machiavelli departs from the Christian precepts and goes for real-politik. A good insight into Renaissance thought.(less)
One of my all time favourite books. There is the plot - rise from rags-to-riches, unrequited love, class distinctions and snobbery, and the Victorian...moreOne of my all time favourite books. There is the plot - rise from rags-to-riches, unrequited love, class distinctions and snobbery, and the Victorian judicial system. A wide range of characters. But it is the rich and varied use of language which attracts me. Open the book at any page and find some element of interest, some paragraph to analyse and entertain. (less)
As a Fan of Eric Ambler I was delighted to see this re-issue in the Penguin Modern Classics series. I must have last read it about 15 years ago, but...more As a Fan of Eric Ambler I was delighted to see this re-issue in the Penguin Modern Classics series. I must have last read it about 15 years ago, but it was immediately familiar, and I soon realised that it was filmed in 1942 and is a staple of afternoon TV viewing.
Everything about it is right. Graham, a mild middle class engineer in sent to Turkey to help update their navy. He becomes embroiled in a situation of attempted murder, suspicion and espionage. He is no hero, remaining out of his depth throughout the novel. Published in 1940, it is set during the phoney war. The characters display the typical attitudes of the period. This is particularly noticeable in the French couple who are so confident about the outcome of the war and the capabilities of the French army.
It is well written in clean prose, although some episodes have a cinematic feel. But then Ambler was a screenwriter.