Sunday, 25 August 2013

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain

Please stick with this book, you will be missing out on one of the most bizarre and hilarious scenes in any novel ever if you don’t read to the end! Honestly, this book could drag, but there are some utterly brilliant anachronisms that really make it worthwhile.

As the title rather explicitly suggests, this novel plants a (for Twain) modern American, in the time of one of Britain’s greatest legends, and basically causes chaos! The novel begins with quite a sense of adventure; how will he survive? What will he do? But it quickly becomes apparent that these knights are way too stupid to be of any threat and are easily manipulated into business making tools. Then come the telegrams and coal mines and soap adverts which make this novel so uniquely obscure. Just the images created by this collision of two cultures, one so stuck in legend and tradition that to destroy it is utter glee, are brilliant.

However, there is a lot of economic and political discussion that comes. This may be the most intellectually meritable thing about this book and I did enjoy the questions that were raised. Despite this, when it comes in the form of frustrating one-sided conversations it can become, for someone who knows little about these subjects, monotonous.

Like I said at the beginning though, stick it out, because you will be missing out on more of Twain’s humour. I shall leave you with a little taste of what to expect of this book:

“She had no more idea than a horse how to photograph a procession; but being in doubt, it was just like her to try to do it with an axe.”

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