Archive for pirates

Treasure Island

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2019 by xi'an

Just spent a wonderful hour listening to excepts from Stevenson’s Treasure Island while cooking dinner… Actually promoting a new translation (in French) in a much more colloquial version than the one I read as a child. I never get enough of this story (even though Kidnapped remains my favourite and not only mine’s!). As a child I remember Old Pew as being the scariest character in the book, Long John Silver being two-faceted from the narrator’s perspective [despite witnessing him kill two sailors in cold blood].

As an aside, this is a definitely “boys’ book”, with no female character but the grieving mother of Jim! When asked to guess which book the radio was, my wife told me she never read that book as a child. And I cannot resist sharing this third drawing from N.C. Wyeth (1911), which I always attribute to Norman Rockwell….

Red seas under red skies

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , on November 12, 2011 by xi'an

The sequel to the [terrific] Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch has this somehow lame title, Red Seas Under Red Skies… I liked very much the first volume, despite it being a heist, and I was looking forward to the sequel. While it is not a complete disaster, it suffers from the comparison with the first book. (Some reviews disagree. This one with impressively detailed arguments!) The setting is both similar (two thieves busy stealing the most wealthy man in a city and building enemies in the process) and dissimilar (no unity of location as the main characters become pirates under constraint and make a sea trip to a pirate Hispaniola-like island). As in the Lies of Locke Lamora, the central characters are well-drawn and engaging if not always coherent (the dialogues are often completely off-key wrt dramatic situations). Life on a pirate ship is simply too civilised to be credible. More generally, the whole story is just too far from plausible and one could equip a whole pirate ship with the number of rigs required to suspend disbelief! One reason is the unnecessary intricacy of the story which involves at least three plots, each with several subplots. When everything unravels in the final pages, with double-acting agents being revealed and tricksters being tricked, it happens just too suddenly to be completely enjoyable. Nonetheless, a rather pleasant light read. From what I read on the author’s blog, there does not seem to be a chance for further volumes soon, although five more were planned in the Gentlemen Bastards series, since he suffers from severe depression… ’tis too bad, really, as he has the skill to construct (too) elaborate stories and to depict deep enough characters…

%d bloggers like this: