Jamaica Inn is a real building which, as Du Maurier notes in her introductory note here, stood in her own time (and still does) on Cornwall's Bodmin MJamaica Inn is a real building which, as Du Maurier notes in her introductory note here, stood in her own time (and still does) on Cornwall's Bodmin Moor. The old inn caught the imagination of the young author, and she proceeded to spin a tale, envisioning it "as it might have been over a hundred and twenty years ago." (Since she wrote those words in 1935, that puts the setting of the novel somewhat before 1815; the date is never given in the text itself.) And what a tale it is, complete with smugglers and wreckers, violence and danger, romance, murder and insanity, all flavored with a richly Gothic seasoning. Add in a well-realized evocation of one of my favorite historical periods, a palpable sense of place (Du Maurier was actually born in London, but her family had a Cornish summer home; she spent a lot of time in Cornwall, and eventually made it her home), vividly-drawn characters and a masterful prose style, and you have all the ingredients of a fictional banquet that's bound to make me happy! This was my first experience of Du Maurier's work, but it definitely won't be the last. :-)
The plot here is compressed into a tight time-frame; it opens in November (with some references made, in Mary's memories, to earlier events), and concludes in early January. (It might be argued by some that this furnishes too little time for a couple to fall in love, and to decide on a life partner; but I would say that those things CAN happen in that time, when the attraction is real and strong.) Du Maurier's writing style has something of the flavor of a 19th-century novel (coming from me, that's a compliment); it doesn't have the elaborate, convoluted syntax, but it does have a substantial quality to it, and makes use of a wide vocabulary. (This was one of very few books in recent decades that sent me to the dictionaries in the house to look up a word!) She creates an atmosphere of oppression and dread in the old inn and its desolate, brooding surrounding countryside with a very deft use of language (and atmosphere is extremely crucial in this type of novel). She introduces key elements of traditional Gothic plotting (the old, menacing, isolated dwelling; the hidden secret; a possible love interest who's compromised by a very plausible reason to distrust him) in a way that seems natural and not formulaic. Her level of description is just right; it's obvious that she knows the varied topography of Cornwall firsthand, and she makes it real to the reader. All of the significant characters here are fully three-dimensional, with positive and negative traits intermingled (obviously in different proportions!), and believable reasons for their actions. The plot makes the book a gripping page-turner, and the climax is as exciting a piece of fictional writing as I've ever read.
Given all of these positives, what dropped the book's rating from the full five stars? Well, the plot device of the dropped nail from a horseshoe, which plays such a critical role in unraveling the mystery, struck me as somewhat contrived; I'm not sure a recently-driven nail would come loose so conveniently, or that someone with no reason to think it was there would find it so handily. (I'm also not sure that even someone knowledgeable about horses would know the work of local blacksmiths well enough to recognize a nail, even granting that these nails would have been hand-forged and that blacksmiths wouldn't be numerous.) More importantly, the text is salted with sexist comments, in the words of the male characters and often in Mary's own thoughts. True, this can be viewed as a reflection of the way she's been taught, rather than of Du Maurier's own attitude; and for all her ideas about the frailty of women, Mary Yellan is obviously no coward and not weak. She's not Supergirl; she can experience a good deal of fear when its warranted, and more than once be prostrated by shock and horror. But she's also taken responsibility to care for her dying mother; she chooses to stay at Jamaica Inn to help and protect her Aunt Patience when she'd much prefer to escape; and she displays resourcefulness and courage on more than one occasion. (And while she's no Sarah Tolerance (Point of Honour), she does immobilize a would-be rapist long enough to get away, and she can ask for a pistol and walk into a dangerous situation rather than let a male companion do it.) The overall effect of these comments, though, can be grating. That leads into a point that would constitute a spoiler.
(view spoiler)[Jem as a love interest comes across as somewhat sexist at times, both in his comments and in his sometimes cavalier treatment of Mary. I get that he's rough-edged, and that she likes him that way at a subconscious level (it's said with good reason that "opposites attract"), and I can even cut him some slack for being a horse thief, in a harsh economic climate where poor people often bent or broke the law to put food on the table. It's clear from some of his actions that he genuinely does love her. But even though I see why he didn't, I still think he should have told the squire about her being with him in Launceston, rather than keeping silent and going off and leaving her to wonder where he was and to get home by herself; to me, that seems harder on her than exposing her to a possible charge of being an accomplice would have been. And while there was no easy solution to the total disparity of the lifestyles they wanted to lead, it galls me that Mary had to be the one that completely gave up her wishes to be with him, where less stubbornness and selfishness on his part might have allowed for more give and take. (hide spoiler)] I also have another quibble about the ending. (view spoiler)[Mary going off with Jem without a chaperone doesn't horrify me, because I think what constitutes a marriage between a man and woman, morally though not legally, is their explicit pledge of commitment to each other. (Not that the legalities are irrelevant; but Jem's character warrants trust that they'll be tended to.) But going off without a word of notice or explanation to the Bassats, who'd be frantic with worry when she just disappears, is completely out of character for Mary, who's been consistently shown to be responsible and kindhearted. Obviously, Du Maurier was trying for a very dramatic ending. But she achieved it by making her character's conduct come across as shabby and inconsistent with who she is. (hide spoiler)] Finally, I think the "freak" language used in several places in referring to the vicar's albinism was overdone and irritating. (Maybe I'm sensitive on this point because a friend of mine in seminary was an albino.) (view spoiler)[And while I wouldn't say a writer can never depict an albino villain, I do think there was sort of a suggestion here that physical "deformity" accompanies moral deformity. (hide spoiler)].
These points, though (some of which are rather subjective), didn't keep me from really liking the book. In the main, I think it's a great read that I'd recommend to anyone with tastes for this type of fiction! (Note: If you're acquainted with the story only through the Hitchcock movie version, you need to know that he did NOT follow the novel very closely. Though it has some significant differences, the 1983 miniseries starring Jane Seymour is a much closer adaptation.)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Though Lovecraft is a favorite writer of mine, until now this book (one of only two novel-length pieces he ever wrote) has been one I hadn't gotten arThough Lovecraft is a favorite writer of mine, until now this book (one of only two novel-length pieces he ever wrote) has been one I hadn't gotten around to reviewing. It was recently nominated as a common read in my Supernatural Fiction Readers group; and though it wasn't the one chosen, that reminded me of it, and I resolved to correct the lapse. It's one of my favorite Lovecraft works, and certainly one I highly recommend to other readers who like this type of fiction.
The Goodreads description for this edition (which isn't the one I read) doesn't really give you any accurate clue as to what the book is about, and the reference to "magic" is erroneous; like Poe, Lovecraft tended to eschew magical causes for his horrific plots, preferring naturalistic explanations. (Nonetheless, this novella reads a lot like supernatural fiction, both in mood, tone and style and in the fact that his "science" operates in ways that in practice might be easily mistaken for magic.) The premise here is that in colonial New England, a would-be sorcerer has learned both how to extend his life far beyond its natural limit, and how to reanimate even the long-dead (which some old-time alchemists actually believed was possible by the proper treatment of their "essential saltes"). His villainous activities are destined to have sinister results, both in his own time and that of the author. (Though it was published posthumously in 1941, it was actually written shortly after World War I.) To avoid spoilers, I won't elaborate further.
Some Lovecraftians characterize this as one of his "non-Cthulhu" works. To be sure, it was written well before "The Call of Cthulhu" (1927), and the agent of evil here is a human being, not a Great Old One. But there are indications that some of the motifs of the Mythos were already germinating in the author's mind. It's indicated that the baddie got his information from occult traffic with unhallowed elder beings from beyond the earth ("Those Outside"), and one scene in particular depicts a hidden-away place with phenomena that could come from out of any of the later Mythos stories. (Indeed, Lovecraft himself almost certainly never divided his works into those two neat categories in his own mind. Nor did he even coin the "Cthulhu Mythos" term, which was the invention of August Derleth after HPL died.) But although exposure to this place sends our principal good guy into a temporary paralyzed state of catatonic terror, this book does lack some of the heavy-handed moralizing about the supposedly reason-annihilating terror of exposure to Lovecraft's view of nihilistic "reality" that appears in some of his stories (though one earlier passage hints at it.) In terms of his plotting here, a case could be made that this is perhaps one of Lovecraft's more "optimistic" works (if we can apply that adjective to anything from his pen :-) ).
Lovecraft is a master of purple prose, one of the authors I most admire when considered strictly as a stylist, and he's at the top of his form here. The storytelling is first-rate, and the evocation of atmosphere is masterful. Much of the story is built around the title character's antiquarian research, a motif I particularly like, and HPL handles it very adeptly. He set the tale in his native Providence, and he brings that setting to life as only he could --he makes it real to me though I've never been there! (One reviewer complained about the wealth of historical detail as distracting and slowing the story, but for me it was actually one of the strong points of the book.) For Lovecraft fans, this is a must-read; and I'd heartily recommend it to anyone wanting to sample his work.
It's worthwhile here to briefly mention the 1963 movie The Haunted Palace (www.imdb.com/title/tt0057128/ ) directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price (which I watched before I read the book). Although it takes its title from a Poe poem, this is actually a loose adaptation suggested by this book, though the film writers moved the setting to Lovecraft's fictional Arkham and changed a number of other aspects, including the ending (which seems designed to set up a sequel, though I don't think one was ever made). The movie is worth watching on its own merits, but no one should imagine that viewing it will give them a real understanding of the book's actual plot....more
While the stereotypical image of the warrior in our culture tends to be male, warrior women were not unknown in the world of antiquity; they left theiWhile the stereotypical image of the warrior in our culture tends to be male, warrior women were not unknown in the world of antiquity; they left their mark on classical, Celtic, and Norse-Teutonic legend, and found a literary prototype in the "lady knight" Britomartis, who rides through the pages of Sir Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen. The creators of the sword-and-sorcery fantasy tradition in the early pulps drew on this background to create a few sword-swinging heroines such as C. L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry and Conan's comrade-in-arms Valeria in Robert E. Howard's "Red Nails." With the rise of women's liberation, their ranks have been considerably swelled in contemporary fantasy, and two anthology series of original short stories have appeared to showcase them: the Sword and Sorceress collections begun by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and the Chicks in Chainmail series begun with this volume. Having read the first volumes of both, I'd say they're both quality work; to the extent that they have a difference, it would be that the tone of the stories in this collection tends to be more on the light-hearted and humorous side than that of the stories in the Bradley collection --though there are exceptions in both groups. (It should be noted that the term "chicks" in the title here isn't used in any disrespectful sense, any more than "gal" is in the parlance of an older generation.)
Twenty authors are represented with stories in this volume, some of them well-known in speculative fiction circles, such as Roger Zelazny, Harry Turtledove, Josepha Sherman, George Alec Effinger (who contributes a story featuring his series heroine, Muffy Birnbaum, "barbarian swordsperson") and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. The great majority of the stories are quite entertaining, and they not infrequently have good messages (like much of the fiction in this genre, they tend to extol heroic qualities of character). My personal favorite is "The New Britomart" by Eluki Bes Shahar (her real name --she also writes as Rosemary Edghill), set in England in 1819, where a country baronet, inspired by Ivanhoe, decides to stage a medieval-style tournament. (Toss in a powerful closeted sorceress with no scruples, a couple of visitors from Faerie, an Ivanhoe character brought to life by magic, a genuine dragon, a girl who wants to compete as a knight and a guy who wants to be a librarian, and anything may happen. ;-) ). Other especially good selections are Sherman's "Teacher's Pet," Elizabeth Waters' "Blood Calls to Blood" (I'd welcome seeing her heroine as a series character!), and David Vierling's spoof of old-time pulp fantasies, "Armor/Amore." Margaret Ball's "Career Day," despite its invidious portrayal of its only Christian character (who's a stereotype lifted from Hate Literature 101), manages to be a strong story about personal growth, where the heroine learns some worthwhile lessons. But almost all of the stories are well worth reading, not just these.
Any collection of 20 stories is likely to have one or two that not every reader cares for, and this one is no exception. Susan Schwartz' bizarre "Exchange Program," in which Hillary Clinton is killed in an Amtrak accident and winds up going to Valhalla (or a grotesque parody of Valhalla) falls flat, in my estimation. And Lawrence Watt- Evans' "The Guardswoman," whose heroine finally becomes "one of the boys" when she's able to join her male colleagues in traipsing to the local brothel for sex (she falls into an affair with the male bouncer) sends all the wrong messages about what sex, and camaraderie, is about. But in general, the other sword-wielding ladies in this book display commendably high morals --they respect themselves, and insist on being respected....more
"Life in the Iron Mills" (1861) was one of the first major Realist works in American literature and created an immediate sensation in the literary wor"Life in the Iron Mills" (1861) was one of the first major Realist works in American literature and created an immediate sensation in the literary world when it was first published, though it was subsequently forgotten and only re-discovered in relatively recent times by editor Olsen. I'd read, and really liked, it already back in the 90s, when we were home-schooling our girls and I was preparing to teach American literature (I made it required reading!). Since the additional material in this volume consists only of two more stories by Davis, one much shorter, and Olsen's "Biographical Interpretation," I selected it to read this month mainly because I could finish it by January (when I'll be starting a common read in one of my groups). I didn't expect it to be a five-star read, but it earned every one of them.
We should note at the outset that this book doesn't purport to be a collection of "the best of" Davis' voluminous short fiction, let alone anything like a comprehensive or representative collection (though Olsen or someone else hopefully will someday produce one!) Rather, it's a thematic one, linking three very different stories that nevertheless have a common underlying element: a protagonist who has artistic (in the broad sense --sculpture in one case, music in the other two-- talent and temperament, but whose situation doesn't afford any opportunity for it to be developed. Olsen makes a very convincing case that Davis could identify personally with this aspect of her protagonist's experience, and that this was an important part of the author's consciousness (see below).
In the title story, set in her native Wheeling, WV (then part of Virginia) the crippling situation protagonist Hugh Wolfe faces is that of poverty: wage slavery, working in an exhausting and dangerous job 12 hours a day, six days a week, for subsistence wages, with no chance for leisure or education. This is the first work of American literature that focuses on the laborers in this situation, and the first social criticism of the treatment the Industrial Revolution was meting out to them. It's gritty, powerful, and tragic, and deeply informed by the author's Christian faith; the sympathetically-treated faith of the Quakers plays a key role, with a trajectory of despair and ruin contending with one of hope and Christian redemption. And the language and imagery of the ending strongly evokes the eschatology of the Christian faith, with a rare appreciation of its socio-economic significance. Davis' achievement in bringing all this to life in what we now recognize as Realist style is remarkable, given her background and resources: she had no formal education beyond "female seminary" (essentially a boarding high school for girls, with a fairly limited curriculum), her reading didn't include Realist models --she adopted that mode of expression naturally, without outside influence and against the Romantic current of all the literature she knew-- and with her genteel class position, the direct observation of working-class life that forms the matrix of the story took a lot of focused effort.
In the other stories here, we have female protagonists whose family responsibilities tie them down to a degree that precludes fulfilling their aspirations for a singing career, or for a life lived in a milieu of aesthetic and intellectual stimulation. But these are not simply stereotypical feminist tracts (because Davis herself wasn't a stereotypical feminist). They recognize the profound truth that loving family ties are what life is all about, and that we get deep emotional satisfaction in return for what we give to spouses and kids who need us, and whom at one level we need. Like many worthwhile things, this can require tradeoffs and sacrifices --but real sacrifices, as opposed to mock ones, involve some pain, some giving up something that has real worth to us, and Davis also recognizes that truth (at the same time that she sees that the grass on the other side of the fence isn't always as green as we paint it in imagination). She recognized all of this from the personal experience of a woman who sacrificed a lot, in terms of time for writing and artistic development, to the needs and wants of her husband and three kids (the youngest born when Davis was 41). That gives these stories a realism, an appreciation of shades of grey, that lifts them above white-and-black tracts (feminist or traditionalist) posing as fiction. And even though I'm a male, I can relate, because like Davis I pursue my writing in the bits and pieces of time I can grab in the midst of family responsibilities (including, in my case, a day job to support the family!) and family fellowship. (The alternatives don't have to be confined to just two, all of one and none of the other!)
At 89 pages, plus 17 pages of notes, Olsen's bio-critical material isn't a full-length biography (that remains to be written!), but it's substantial and fascinating, and added a good deal to my knowledge of this author. (It was written with access to Davis' own diary, and letters.) My only real criticisms would be that the placement of this section between the title story and the other two is awkward, especially since it includes spoilers for both the other stories (it would work better placed at the end, so it would be more apt to be read in that order, as I did in fact read it), and that as a Marxist scholar, Olsen isn't really able to sympathize with Davis' faith.
While Olsen considers the title story to be Davis' only really great work, and finds her subsequent productions mostly flawed, she makes a convincing case that at least some of them have enduring worth. Personally, I'd say that "The Wife's Story" and "Anne," which appear here, and "Balacchi Brothers" (which I've read elsewhere) are on a par with the short fiction of Jewett, Freeman and Garland. This book has whetted my interest in reading more by this author, and I hope eventually to do so!...more
Note, April 13, 2014: I've just updated this review slightly to correct some factual inaccuracy in the account of the tale's origin.
Personal physicianNote, April 13, 2014: I've just updated this review slightly to correct some factual inaccuracy in the account of the tale's origin.
Personal physician to Lord Byron, Polidori was present for the same challenge to the Byron-Shelley households to write a scary story that produced Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but apparently didn't immediately take part in it. He later produced this literary treatment of the vampire legend (the first one to be published in English) using Byron's story, which the famed poet started but left incomplete, as a basis, but re-writing it completely. (The edition of The Vampyre that I read, which is different from this one, reproduces that fragment as well, and it is superior in style and treatment to Polidori's effort.) Really a glorified short story, with a thin, melodramatic plot and sketchy characterizations, this novella succeeded as well as it did because of the novelty of its theme (and the rumor that Byron actually wrote it).
Ruthven is an amoral, egoistic, aloof character supposedly seductively appealing to women, and can be seen as a Byronic antihero in something of the typical Romantic mold, into which his vampirism fits very well; and he set a kind of pattern for the aristocratic male vampires in the classical vampire fiction tradition that would follow. But, like all the vampires in that tradition, he is not a dynamic character.
The central conflict in the story proves to be internal for the hero: does he expose his own sister to mortal danger, or break his word, given to Ruthven, not to disclose something that he knows. This probably strikes modern readers as a false conflict, since most of them wouldn't take their own word that seriously; but while this novella has plenty of implausible melodramatic elements, for Polidori's generation this dilemma would seem genuine: gentlemen of that day were expected to take their given word very seriously, even when it proved to be against their interest. (Whether we've "progressed" or devolved since then is an open question.)...more
John Thunstone, supernatural investigator, was a series character Wellman created for his stories in the old pulps such as Weird Tales. (The author'sJohn Thunstone, supernatural investigator, was a series character Wellman created for his stories in the old pulps such as Weird Tales. (The author's short fiction featuring Thunstone, and other paranormal investigators such as Judge Pursivant, was later collected in his 1981 anthology Lonely Vigils.) Here, Thunstone gets to be featured in his own novel (he also takes center stage in a 1985 sequel, The School of Darkness --which I haven't read, but would love to sometime!).
This is an imaginative, atmospheric, well-written supernatural adventure delivered with Wellman's usual flair; relatively short and written in a smooth-flowing, direct style, it's a quick, absorbing read that holds the attention. The author's literary vision is a wholesome one; Thunstone, like all his heroes, fights against occult forces of evil, and has the qualities it takes to be successful in that fight. His allies here are the local vicar, and a woman the locals call a "white witch;" Wellman makes it clear that she's not a witch at all in the Satanic sense, but what the Appalachian mountaineers would call a "witch mistress/master" --that is, a man or woman who is "master over" evil sorcery, equipped by training and talent to defeat and overcome it....more
I'm taking a break from my current kick of retrospectively reviewing the classics to focus on this much more recent title, inspired by the recent reviI'm taking a break from my current kick of retrospectively reviewing the classics to focus on this much more recent title, inspired by the recent review by my Goodreads friend Mike. He did his usual excellent job, but since my perspective is a bit different (he rated the book only "okay"), I thought it might be opportune to throw in my two cents worth. :-) It's only fair to note at the outset, though, that my more favorable rating is colored by the facts that I'm more of a sucker for post-apocalyptic yarns, and that unlike Mike I'm abysmally ignorant of most aspects of technology and engineering, which makes it easier for me to suspend disbelief on some points!
McDevitt structures his story around the classic quest motif. Some 700 years after the collapse of modern American civilization, some civilized but low-tech city states thrive in the lower Mississippi Valley. They have no contact with other parts of the world, though, and very little knowledge of their pre-apocalyptic ancestors, the Roadmakers. But they do possess a couple of copies of a book, The Travels of Abraham Polk, purportedly written in the immediate aftermath of the plague that destroyed the previous civilization, which describes the creation of a place of refuge called Haven, where the secrets of the Roadmakers are preserved. Nine years ago, a small band of adventurers, following clues in the Travels, set out to find Haven; but the lone survivor returned to report their failure. With his suicide near the beginning of this book, evidence comes to light that suggests that the expedition DID reach Haven after all. So a handful of people, determined to find answers once and for all, mount a second expedition. Their number includes the sister of the previous expedition's artist, a wilderness guide, a university professor, a pagan priestess who's having a crisis of faith, and the skeptical son of the survivor. Their journey will take them across much of what we once knew as the eastern U.S., now a dangerous wilderness.
McDevitt writes well, with a flowing style, descriptive but not overly descriptive, that serves his story admirably. The characters are very real and lifelike, round and believable; mostly very likeable, and even in the case of some who aren't so much so, the reader gets to know and understand them better (and like them better) by the end. You quickly think of most of them as friends, and are invested in their fate. As Mike notes, the expedition takes awhile to get underway, and into the wilderness. However, this is because McDevitt takes his time explaining the background of the situation, introducing the characters, and engaging in some serious world-building (which I felt was top-notch). This added texture, for me, gave more depth to the purely adventurous parts --and there were plenty of the latter on the group's journey. But be warned; no spoilers here, but the perils of the undertaking are real and deadly, and need to be taken seriously by the reader --as in real life, there are no guarantees of survival.
Mike made the point that there seem to be technological incongruities here. The author's post-apocalyptic culture has cartridge firearms, but not other modern utensils that might utilize similar methods of manufacture; and they're aware of ancient automobiles (though ignorant of how they were powered), but not aware of trains. There may be some merit to this criticism. At the time that I read the book, though, I took it for granted that, in a situation like this, there might be some degree of randomness in what technological knowledge would and wouldn't survive. We also have to take into account people's priorities. (Chaka's rueful thought, words to the effect that "we've forgotten how to print books, but we still know how to make guns!" speaks volumes about fallen human nature.) In the main, I found McDevitt's portrayal of his future culture(s) quite plausible, except in the religious area. He posits the total disappearance of Christianity, to the point where scholars of that day have only hazy and incomplete defective ideas about its beliefs, and its replacement by a new polytheism. Even allowing for his agnostic worldview and regardless of Christian truth claims, this isn't realistic, any more than positing the total disappearance of Islam from the Middle East, or of Hinduism from India, 700 years after the collapse of the present civilization. The discussions of theism and religious belief some of the characters have are, as well, tinctured by the author's skepticism. But they stop short of being doctrinaire anti-religious screeds; the author's agnosticism, if I interpret him rightly, cuts both ways, and he simply poses questions without implying that he knows all the answers, and knows that they're negative.
The plot incorporates a romantic thread --and it's clean romance (even though the couple experience some realistic premarital temptation), for which I think McDevitt deserves some genuine credit. He also, IMO, deserves credit for very full-orbed development of the back-story of Abraham Polk and the October patrol, so much so that initially, I actually thought this book was a sequel to a previous novel about Polk, though that isn't the case. (Memo to McDevitt: write a prequel!)
A review on Amazon, which I read years before I read the book, raised a complaint about the ending. (view spoiler)[It was objected that the book doesn't spell out in detail exactly what knowledge the group brought back from Haven. But we ARE told that they brought back a major treasure trove of books on history, some of which are identified. McDevitt was certainly justified in thinking that intelligent readers would have a basic understanding of the history itself, so as to know automatically what history books could be expected to relate; and to sumarize the contents of that many books at the end of this one would have made the ending unnecessarily bulky and anti-climactic. (hide spoiler)] So after reading the book, I didn't think that objection had any merit.
In summary, I really liked this, though I didn't go to the extent of giving it five stars. Your reaction might vary; but if the flaw(s) and characteristics I've noted above aren't off-putting, I'd suggest giving it a try!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more