Wednesday, September 01, 2004
One of the best films I saw this year was Master and Commander, directed by Peter Weir and staring Russell Crowe. After seeing it I quickly did a search on Amazon and found that the story was based on the novel 'Far Side of the World,' the 10th of 20 novels written by 'Patrick O'Brian.' Now I have some fiction to sink my teeth into, something I have not done for quite a while. O'Brain (it's a pen name, but no matter) is an absolutely smashing prose writer. When he's in a groove, it is amazing to see. It's a bit like Jane Austin for men, even though O'Brian started the books in the late 1960's and 70's. The naval terminology can be overwhelming, but it's not crucial to know a jib from a mizzen to follow along. And the characters! Aubrey and Martin are beyond compare, and I'm being introduced to more - such as Diana Villiers - as I go along. At the moment I'm only in book two, Post Captain, and I foresee a long period of good reading ahead. I'm happy to recommend the series to anyone who likes historical fiction but finds it hard to find good material.