Thursday, 11 December 2014

100 not out

Tomorrow ,12th December, would have been the hundredth birthday of Patrick O'Brian.

Still bringing pleasure and joy to readers everywhere...

There I have you,' cried Jack. 'You are bit - you are completely dished. Don't you know that in the Navy you must always choose the lesser of two weevils? Oh ha, ha, ha, ha!” 
― Patrick O'Brian


  1. What a shame that they didn't make more films. Master and Commander was crying out for a sequel

  2. By strange coincidence, tomorrow would have been my father's 91st birthday, and he enjoyed the Aubrey-Maturin novels...I wonder if he knew he shared the author's birthday.

  3. Wonderful writer was Patrick O'Brian:

    " 'Good morning, Killick,' said Stephen. 'Where's himself?'
    'Good morning, sir,' said Killick. 'Which he's still on deck.'
    'Killick,' said Stephen. 'What's amiss? Have you seen the ghost in the bread- room? Are you sick? Show me your tongue.'
    When Killick had withdrawn his tongue, a flannelly object of inordinate length, he said, paler still, 'Is there a ghost in the bread-room, sir? Oh, oh, and I was there in the middle watch. Oh, sir, I might a seen it.'
    'There is always a ghost in the bread-room. Light along that pot, will you now?' "

  4. What wonderful stories they are. Bless him.

  5. Having returned here, I noticed 'nobby's' comment. Whilst I don't wish to ruin anyone's enjoyment, and I find mine is a minority view at that, I felt that what Hollywood did to 'Master and Commander' was nothing short of criminal. Its makers deserved to be strung up by the thumbs alongside the makers of the 1995 version of 'Richard the Third.' Apart from anything else, they conflated two books ('Master and Commander' and 'HMS Surprise') into one movie. I mean: WTHWT??

    Although no particular fan of the Hobbit movies, I have a feeling a Peter Jackson type of videologist would have made much more of the novels. True, the medium changes the story; that's the nature of the beast. Video can do things narrative can't and vice versa. But still, as Jack Aubrey commented upon the idiosyncratic costumery of Lord Clonfert's boat crews: 'There is such a thing as measure.'

    1. Be consoled AP My enjoyment, at least, is unimpaired.
      If it wasn't for the film I wouldn't have looked at the books. I read enough Douglas Reeman in my youth to put me off the rum, bum and baccy boys; until the Master and Commander film came along :0)

    2. Nobby - as a huge fan of the O'Brien books, I felt the film made a good fist of it too... like you I would have loved to have seen a few more.... "it's time to rosin the bows and have Killick stand by with the toasted cheese ..."

    3. Dead spooky but my free ebook download from The Times today is Master and Commander!

  6. *Love* the Aubrey-Maturin books! To the woe and misery of it all, I had to leave my collection in the UK when I emigrated.

    The movie... wasn't bad at all. I could see it was trying to capture the spirit of the books and succeeded on the whole, although yes, I did think it an odd decision to merge the two stories.

  7. I too enjoyed the film and thought it wasn't a bad effort.It would have been good to have more films to watch.I thought the central characters did a splendid effort and would have enjoyed to have seen their friendship develop in further films. By the way BBC Radio 4 has dramatised "Master and Commander and also broadcast an interview with Patrick O'Brian from around 1992.Available on radio i player currently

  8. God bless himself - it's hard to imagine a writer with a more devoted following. I recall a librarian friend told me that one elderly gentleman tried to keep the entire O'Brien collection on permanent loan, and got very agitated if anyone tried to recall one. For language and for insight into human nature, it's hard to beat him. I would occasionally find the technical bits a little too technical, so I would occasionally say "OK, this is where they sail the ship for a while, I'll skip ahead a little bit." His other work was jolly good as well.
    As for the film, I'm a bit of an agnostic on that, but I did find that Russell Crowe made a surprisingly satisfying Aubrey, and the other fellow mostly fit my idea of Maturin.