The Rendezvous and Other Stories

The Rendezvous and Other Stories

by Patrick O'Brian
     
 

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A collection of startlingly vivid short stories from Patrick O'Brian, author of the highly acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series.
Patrick O'Brian has emerged, in the opinion of many, as one of the greatest novelists now writing in English. His fame rests mainly on the achievement of the epic Aubrey/Maturin novels, but few readers know that O'Brian first made his

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Overview

A collection of startlingly vivid short stories from Patrick O'Brian, author of the highly acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series.
Patrick O'Brian has emerged, in the opinion of many, as one of the greatest novelists now writing in English. His fame rests mainly on the achievement of the epic Aubrey/Maturin novels, but few readers know that O'Brian first made his reputation as a writer of short fiction. Collected here for the first time are twenty-seven stories that O'Brian wishes to preserve: stories of uncommon lyricism and beauty that will confirm his rightful place in the front rank of short-story writers as well as of novelists.
Although the tone of this collection ranges effortlessly from the humorous to the dramatic, the most characteristic and memorable stories often have to do with a glimpse of savage, destructive forces through the fragile shell of human civilization. The threatened chaos may be psychological, as in "On the Wolfsberg," or it may be lurking in the natural world, as in "A Passage of the Frontier," or, as in the dark masterpiece "The Chian Wine," it is suddenly discovered in the ancient, irrational impulses of human nature.
The setting may be the marshes of western Ireland, the Pyrenees, or the claustrophobic confines of a clockmender's house, but each story is a showcase for Patrick O'Brian's fresh and meticulous prose; each story reaffirms his sympathetic understanding of human passion and suffering. This collection proves that O'Brian is not simply the master of a genre, but an author who will long be honored as one of our most eminent literary figures.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“If a measure of good short fiction is its continuing ability to arrest attention, Mr. O'Brian's collection can surely be counted a success.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Relentlessly detailed exposition and naturalistic description are the strengths of British novelist O'Brian, esteemed for his Aubrey/Maturin nautical adventure historicals ( Master and Commander ; Post Captain ). The author's rather monochromatic technique doesn't translate well to short form, however, and these 27 tales, many of which date back to the '50s and the dawn of O'Brian's career, often lack narrative drive and any semblance of character development. Moreover, they frequently close with surprise endings that are apparently meant to be deep and profound but emerge instead as borderline non sequiturs. On the plus side, O'Brian's prose is often beautiful and always impeccably crafted, and his eye for detail in the wild gives a number of the stories considerable power and rural charm. The bright spots include ``The Last Pool,'' a brief yet epic account of a fisherman's struggle with an oversize salmon, and the explosive ``On the Bog,'' in which a hunting trip taken by two friends ends in unanticipated violence. Readers with a bent for British fiction that describes village life and the characteristics of the land may enjoy this collection, but others will find it not up to O'Brian's usual snuff. (Sept.)
Library Journal
O'Brian is the author of the famed Aubrey/Maturin novels (e.g., The Wine-Dark Sea, LJ 10/15/93), great depictions of the 18th-century seafaring world and considered among the best of historical fiction. This collection of obscure stories, written between the 1950s and 1970s, shares little with his acclaimed novels. Except that here, too, our characters-nearly always lone men-are also often journeying, albeit now to the mountains for trout fishing. There is a feeling throughout of quiet desperation, although we usually don't know why. More lost, however, are the characters themselves, who often don't know who or where they are. In the end nature often turns nasty. It's all very much like an L.L. Bean catalog gone awry. Better are the tales of marital unrest like the title story, in which a woman believes her husband to be unfaithful. Unlikely to appeal to either O'Brian's fans or to short story enthusiasts, this can be safely skipped by most libraries.-Brian Kenney, Brooklyn P.L.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393313802
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
11/28/1995
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
948,356
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).Set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O'Brian's twenty-volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician (and spy) Stephen Maturin. The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture. The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format.In addition to the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian wrote several books including the novels Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherrière's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 12, 1914
Date of Death:
January 2, 2000
Place of Birth:
Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire
Place of Death:
Dublin, Ireland
Education:
Shebbear College, Devon
Website:
http://www.wwnorton.com/pob/pobhome.htm

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