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Patrick O'Brian ï 5 Read

Of this early work published when he was in his early twenties Patrick O'Brian writes in a foreword In the writing of the book I learnt the rudiments of my calling but than that it opened a well of joy that has not yet run dry The story is about a young mahout or elephant handler his childh A rather realistic version of Kipling's Kim the narrative follows a young 19th Century Indian named Hussein and his uest to marry the woman he loves And while that sounds very romantic the story and character are than slightly jaded by the protagonist's willingness to commit murder but living in the reality of the time and place the author brings to life warts and all the Indian subcontinent at the time the British were slowly consolidating their hold on it From an author best known for his characters of Aubry and Maturin this was an early and uite different literary effort but inevitably an enjoyable one told I read in the form given by an Indian story teller in which judgement is to be suspended and the tale to be accepted as just life happening as it always does While it didn't have the depth of the author's later works it still had that texture that makes all of O'Brian's books such a pleasure to read Plague Harvest yet run dry The story is about a How Not to F*** Them Up young mahout or elephant handler his childh A rather realistic version of Kipling's Kim the narrative follows a Darkland young 19th Century Indian named Hussein and his uest to marry the woman he loves And while that sounds very romantic the story and character are than slightly jaded by the protagonist's willingness to commit murder but living in the reality of the time and place the author brings to life warts and all the Indian subcontinent at the time the British were slowly consolidating their hold on it From an author best known for his characters of Aubry and Maturin this was an early and uite different literary effort but inevitably an enjoyable one told I read in the form given by an Indian story teller in which judgement is to be suspended and the tale to be accepted as just life happening as it always does While it didn't have the depth of the author's later works it still had that texture that makes all of O'Brian's books such a pleasure to read

Read Hussein An Entertainment

Hussein An Entertainment

Ures begin snake charming sword fighting spying stealing a fortune and returning triumphantly to claim his bride All of this is set against an evocatively exotic India full of bazaars temples and beautiful women despite the fact that O'Brian had never been to the East when he wrote the stor Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey series has been on my to read list for over a decade I have been in a mood to switch genres lately and now I can't wait to get started Of course the first book of the series was not at the library last time I was there so I picked up Hussein This is the first Patrick O'Brian book I have ever read It is the first book O'Brian ever wrote I have learned that it is not fair for me to judge an author by their first book I believe I have nixed some able authors from my list over disappointment in their first book That is not the case with O'Brian as I am still very much compelled to read Master and CommanderI'm in a bit of a turmoil about Hussein My favorite part of the book was this line in the one page foreword written by Patrick O'Brian in 1999 the year before his death in the writing of the book I learnt the rudiments of my calling but infinitely than that it opened a well of joy that has not yet run dry It all started here for O'Brian He explains that this began as short fiction for an Oxford University annual but was received with such enthusiasm and support for expansion that he lengthened it into a novel an entertainment I appreciate that O'Brian acknowledged his limitation and attempted to dissuade readers from taking this work too seriously by calling it an entertainment not to be construed as a representation of the people and culture of India a country that he had never visited at the time he wrote this book But then that was my problem with the bookThere is nothing wrong with this story It is entertaining and well written Had I been able to suspend the idea that this was a yarn written by an untraveled Brit in 1938 when England ruled India this could have in fact been a tale on which I could have been carried away Unfortunately I was not able to suspend the nagging thought that this story lacked legitimacy and as a result I had the most egregious experience that reading fiction is a waste of timeI am thrilled that O'Brian found his calling when he wrote this book As the story rolled out I was inspired by the discovery of the new author spinning Hussein's tale If only I could find that calling myself Plague Harvest year before his death in the writing of the book I learnt the rudiments of my calling but infinitely than that it opened a well of joy that has not How Not to F*** Them Up yet run dry It all started here for O'Brian He explains that this began as short fiction for an Oxford University annual but was received with such enthusiasm and support for expansion that he lengthened it into a novel an entertainment I appreciate that O'Brian acknowledged his limitation and attempted to dissuade readers from taking this work too seriously by calling it an entertainment not to be construed as a representation of the people and culture of India a country that he had never visited at the time he wrote this book But then that was my problem with the bookThere is nothing wrong with this story It is entertaining and well written Had I been able to suspend the idea that this was a Darkland yarn written by an untraveled Brit in 1938 when England ruled India this could have in fact been a tale on which I could have been carried away Unfortunately I was not able to suspend the nagging thought that this story lacked legitimacy and as a result I had the most egregious experience that reading fiction is a waste of timeI am thrilled that O'Brian found his calling when he wrote this book As the story rolled out I was inspired by the discovery of the new author spinning Hussein's tale If only I could find that calling myself

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Ood and life in India and his relationship and adventures with elephants As a boy Hussein falls in love with a beautiful and elusive girl Sashiya and arranges for another of her suitors to be murdered with a fakir's curse The dead man's relatives vow vengeance Hussein escapes and his advent A fun taleHussein is a fun read by the masterly author of the AubreyMaturing series It is not the highest literature but it shows early traces of the charming language that O'Brian will use in his famous novels


10 thoughts on “Hussein An Entertainment

  1. says:

    Bottom Line First Hussein is a first novel by a soon to be master story tellerPatrick O' Brian not his real name would become famous for seafaring historical adventures a world wherein he had no first person experience In Hussein he builds an adventure story around a Muslim mahout surviving in the British Raj O'Brian had no first hand knowledge of any aspect of this world The result is believable and entertaining it is subtitled `an entertainment' but not yet the product of a master Hussein is highly recommended for Patrick O'Brian fans For a first time exposure to his work or for young adult audience it is a better than average read The story has a number of exciting turns reverses and complexities but the style can be too dryPatrick O'Brian is best known for his much later AubreyMaturin adventure novels These are books about life in Nelson's Navy After O'Brian's death it would come out that almost everything his fans had been told about him was not true His name Irish heritage and experience of life at sea all of this was not true None of this became a scandal because of his ability to immerse his readers in an authentic feeling historic period and he telling has withstood challenges to its essential validityHussein is listed as his first published novel Here he is writing about a world that existed in fact and one wherein he had no first hand knowledge His lead character is a young Muslim elephant mahout He is slightly educated than most of his fellows and the adventures he will face will test his abilities to learn and excel in skills including snake charmer cheetah trainer story teller and farmer He will live by wits than morality As is classic in these kinds of stories his goal is wealth and the hand of his belovedHussein will live adventures similar to the famous stories of the Arabian nights but with no occasion for djinns or magic lamps There are fakirs aged hermits and other people believed to have magical skills but the reader is not reuired to believe along with the superstitious characters in the stories This results in novel that includes a richer variety of characters and therefore a believable environmentAlso missing is the elaborate and often exaggerated lavishness of the 1001 Nights story cycle At times I felt that O'Brian was writing something like the 1001 Nights as told by Hemmingway The result is that the narrative while engaging and charming can be somewhat sparse and flat How much of this is due to the undeveloped state of the author's skills and how much was a deliberate effort to pare down the style is not known


  2. says:

    A rather realistic version of Kipling's Kim the narrative follows a young 19th Century Indian named Hussein and his uest to marry the woman he loves And while that sounds very romantic the story and character are than slightly jaded by the protagonist's willingness to commit murder but living in the reality of the time and place the author brings to life warts and all the Indian subcontinent at the time the British were slowly consolidating their hold on it From an author best known for his characters of Aubry and Maturin this was an early and uite different literary effort but inevitably an enjoyable one told I read in the form given by an Indian story teller in which judgement is to be suspended and the tale to be accepted as just life happening as it always does While it didn't have the depth of the author's later works it still had that texture that makes all of O'Brian's books such a pleasure to read


  3. says:

    Sort of convoluted and the hero might have been sympathetic if he didn't keep accidentally killing people Well when you're beating the crap out of them and they die it's not entirely an accident The elephant was pretty cool


  4. says:

    I can't say I know how I came to possess this book A bout of illness while sheltering at home brought it into my lap after carrying it for years being a great fan of O'Brian's writing Having recently finished reading or listening to the Aubriad I was sorry to have to set aside his wonderful work and Hussein seemed like just the thing to scratch the itch without just starting the whole series over again I have known good friends to do so as many as eight times; I am not ready to make that kind of commitment given the many books I yet long to read But let me be clear a life spent exclusively with O'Brian would not be such a bad life I continue to be surprised by the uantity and variety of writing this wonder worker produced in his lifetimeI devoured Hussein in a single fevered day unable to put it down despite my fatigue and other sources of physical discomfort It has been a long time since a book was able to capture my attention in this way I should have written a review immediately upon completing it as I have since devoured several books and its original effect is now lost What remains is O'Brian's ability to conjure an imaginative experience and a delight that feeds and strengthens the imagination in its most wide ranging formEver since Caitrin Keiper's essay Do Elephants Have Souls? prompted me to read the classic The Dynasty of Abu I have retained a remote mostly literary fascination with the elephant and of course a novel like this only intensifies that gratifying secondhand curiosity Hussein is possessed of the gifts of the born mahout and the large part of his adventures are sustained even driven by the character of Jehangir a bull elephant that is as wily and wise as any Hindu fakir and far less easily moved by coin Literary types are interested in seeing this early novel as a point along the line of O'Brian's development as a novelist and I'm sure it can offer them sights of interest; many of the same tropes of espionage wild chases storming a redoubt against all odds and mighty windfalls of gold are all present here to great effect So too O'Brian interjects a number of great stories that Hussein or others tell to their gathered audience creating interludes with a similar effect to the lore of El ahrairah in another great British story that of Watership Down In fact this novel strikes me as a uniue blend of the easy globetrotting of Kipling and the mysterious faerie like uality of Roald Dahl's short stories especially The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six MoreThis little known novel will soon be a staple coming of age gift to the young souls I know I heartily recommend it to all in search of a worthy story to fill these times of enforced malaise


  5. says:

    A fun taleHussein is a fun read by the masterly author of the AubreyMaturing series It is not the highest literature but it shows early traces of the charming language that O'Brian will use in his famous novels


  6. says:

    What an adventure The first half is almost a collection of short stories with the same main character but the second half is linked and moves uickly The stories are great fun


  7. says:

    Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey series has been on my to read list for over a decade I have been in a mood to switch genres lately and now I can't wait to get started Of course the first book of the series was not at the library last time I was there so I picked up Hussein This is the first Patrick O'Brian book I have ever read It is the first book O'Brian ever wrote I have learned that it is not fair for me to judge an author by their first book I believe I have nixed some able authors from my list over disappointment in their first book That is not the case with O'Brian as I am still very much compelled to read Master and CommanderI'm in a bit of a turmoil about Hussein My favorite part of the book was this line in the one page foreword written by Patrick O'Brian in 1999 the year before his death in the writing of the book I learnt the rudiments of my calling but infinitely than that it opened a well of joy that has not yet run dry It all started here for O'Brian He explains that this began as short fiction for an Oxford University annual but was received with such enthusiasm and support for expansion that he lengthened it into a novel an entertainment I appreciate that O'Brian acknowledged his limitation and attempted to dissuade readers from taking this work too seriously by calling it an entertainment not to be construed as a representation of the people and culture of India a country that he had never visited at the time he wrote this book But then that was my problem with the bookThere is nothing wrong with this story It is entertaining and well written Had I been able to suspend the idea that this was a yarn written by an untraveled Brit in 1938 when England ruled India this could have in fact been a tale on which I could have been carried away Unfortunately I was not able to suspend the nagging thought that this story lacked legitimacy and as a result I had the most egregious experience that reading fiction is a waste of timeI am thrilled that O'Brian found his calling when he wrote this book As the story rolled out I was inspired by the discovery of the new author spinning Hussein's tale If only I could find that calling myself


  8. says:

    A rags to riches fairy tale set during the British Raj about a mahout who gets the girl in the end after a grand series of adventures most of which are somewhat incredulous where suspension of disbelief is reuired Stories within stories is classic Arabian nights 'Great game' conspiracies got abit convoluted towards the last bits Would've worked better as a children's storybook with lots of pictures


  9. says:

    This book wasn't bad but it just didn't have the same appeal as OBrian's other books It was his first novel and was written nearly 80 years ago This was before independence when IndiaPakistan were still part of the British Empire Further in the introduction OBrian says that when this was written he had never been to India The result doesn't exactly feel dated but it does feel like an old somewhat simplistic view of the world


  10. says:

    A charming tale with lots of exotic flavor O'Brian's descriptions of animals especially the elephant Jehangir are marvelous but his characters are pretty flat Still I'm happy I found this very early work by one of the world's greatest historical fiction writers


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