You are viewing ijon

Impressions and Expressions of Ijon - "Master and Commander" is pure joy
January 10th, 2010
06:27 pm

[Link]

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
"Master and Commander" is pure joy
O'Brian's Master and Commander (first novel of the Aubrey/Maturin series) is everything it's cracked up to be. A fantastic evocation of the Napoleonic seafaring era, the social mores, and the naval language and customs.

I particularly admire the quality of his mimesis: O'Brian achieves a high degree of verisimilitude in the characters' speech and opinions, and does not sugarcoat or censor the less than savory aspects of late-18th century life. For instance, one shore leave for the sailors after a successful voyage does not end in harmless drunkenness, but in multiple cases of rape of women in the port town.

The main characters are interesting, and Stephen Maturin in particular is an intriguing and highly original character.

The language is very rich but never tiresome; be prepared to crack open your trusty dictionary every other page or so. I found the language contributes greatly to the color and character of the narrative.

Thanks to all my friends who had read and recommended it in the past: Tal Cohen (as early as 2000!), avva, gaal, ygurvitz, and probably a few others I forget.

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:dimrub
Date:January 10th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, a great book. But the series get worse with the time. I made a mistake of reading the whole 21 of them. The last ones are barely readable. I would stop at 10.
[User Picture]
From:goliard
Date:January 10th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I've heard this said before, but I don't agree at all; some of my favorite scenes are in the later books, and I think the prose remains equally delicious all through.
[User Picture]
From:kritzit
Date:January 16th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Was it ever translated into Hebrew?
I tried to search for it... but with no luck.
[User Picture]
From:ijon
Date:January 16th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
No, and I doubt it ever would be: the English is so rich and the nautical terms (in which Hebrew is so poor) so central to the book's atmosphere, that I doubt it can be translated effectively.

Then again, more difficult books have been translated in the past, so who knows. But I doubt an Israeli publisher would be willing to fund this translation, which is bound to take considerably more than the latest American bestseller.
[User Picture]
From:kritzit
Date:January 19th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
(Link)
We have 6 vol. from the series (if I'm not mistaken) at the Raanana library...
[User Picture]
From:ijon
Date:January 19th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
(Link)
...in the original English, you mean, yes?
[User Picture]
From:kritzit
Date:January 21st, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
(Link)
yes, in English.
Project Ben-Yehuda [Hebrew] Powered by LiveJournal.com