Testimonies

( 2 )

Overview

"A welcome reissue of O'Brian's moving and very fine first novel."—Kirkus Reviews
Delmore Schwartz, the most influential critic in postwar America, wrote of Patrick O'Brian's first novel Testimonies: "A triumph...drawn forward by lyric eloquence and the story's fascination, [the reader] discovers in the end that he has encountered in a new way the sphinx and the riddle of existence itself." Schwartz' imagination was fired by this sinister tale of love and death set in Wales, a ...

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Testimonies

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Overview

"A welcome reissue of O'Brian's moving and very fine first novel."—Kirkus Reviews
Delmore Schwartz, the most influential critic in postwar America, wrote of Patrick O'Brian's first novel Testimonies: "A triumph...drawn forward by lyric eloquence and the story's fascination, [the reader] discovers in the end that he has encountered in a new way the sphinx and the riddle of existence itself." Schwartz' imagination was fired by this sinister tale of love and death set in Wales, a timeless story with echoes of Thomas Hardy and Mary Webb.
Joseph Pugh, sick of Oxford and of teaching, decides to take some time off to live in a wild and beautiful Welsh farm valley. There he falls physically ill and is nursed back to health by Bronwen Vaughn, the wife of a neighboring farmer. Slowly, unwillingly, Bronwen and Pugh fall in love;' and while that word is never spoken between them, their story is as passionate and as tragic as that of Vronsky and Anna Karenina.

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Editorial Reviews

Miami Herald
“A subtle and fascinating tale.”
Eudora Welty
“Patrick O'Brian has a power of bringing near to the reader...savagery and tenderness, beauty and mystery and boldness and dignity.”
Boston Globe
“O'Brian's greatness is present. Calmly and with wit he shows how things go wrong in little worlds.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A former Oxford professor retreats to a small Welsh community only to become ill and fall in love with the farmer's wife who nurses him back to health. July
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393313161
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 554,516
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Patrick O'Brian

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.

Biography

In addition to the twenty volumes of the highly-respected Aubrey/Maturin series, Patrick O'Brian's many novels include Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore. O'Brian has also written acclaimed biographies of Pablo Picasso and Sir Joseph Banks and has translated many works from the French, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle. Born in 1914, he passed away in January 2000.

Patrick O'Brian was one of the great authors of the twentieth century, whose novels were often compared by critics to the work of Jane Austen and even Homer. A writer of breathtaking erudition, Mr. O'Brian evoked in complete and dazzling detail an entire world -- that of the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. In addition to formidable scholarship, Mr. O'Brian brought to his work keen psychological insights, a sharp wit, and fast-paced, heart-stopping action.

In a cover story in The New York Times Book Review published on January 6, 1991, nine years to the day before Mr. O'Brian's death, Richard Snow wrote that Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin naval adventure novels are "the best historical novels ever written. On every page Mr. O'Brian reminds us with subtle artistry of the most important of all historical lessons: that times change but people don't, that the griefs and follies and victories of the men and women who were here before us are in fact the maps of our own lives." In a Washington Post article published August 2, 1992, Ken Ringle wrote, "The Aubrey/Maturin series far beyond any episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the human heart."

W.W. Norton & Company began publishing Patrick O'Brian's books in 1990. The previous year, Norton's editor-in-chief, Starling Lawrence, had read The Reverse of the Medal on a trans-Atlantic flight, fallen hard for the series, and had become convinced that Norton ought to publish Mr. O'Brian's works in the U.S. Norton decided to publish each new book in hardcover as it was completed and to bring out the earlier books in the series in paperback until they had caught up. The first season, Norton published The Letter of Marque (# 12) in hardcover and Master and Commander (# 1) and Post Captain (# 2) in paperback. Most recently, Norton published Blue at the Mizzen (# 20) in hardcover in 1999 and in paperback in 2000. At present, Norton has all of the books in the series available in uniform hardcover and paperback editions.

In addition to the twenty books in the Aubrey/Maturin series, Norton has published a short story collection (The Rendezvous and Other Stories) and three of Mr. O'Brian's other novels: Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore. O'Brian has also written acclaimed biographies of Pablo Picasso and Sir Joseph Banks and has translated many works from the French, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle. In April of 2000, Norton published Caesar: The Life Story of a Panda-Leopard, his very first book, begun when he was just twelve, and Hussein: An Entertainment, written when he was about twenty years old. Both of these books had long been out of print.

Starting in the early 1990s, Mr. O'Brian achieved, at long last, the critical and popular recognition that was his due. All of his new books published since 1993 have appeared on national bestseller charts, and his books have sold well over three million copies in the U.S. alone.

Mr. O'Brian once said, "Obviously, I have lived very much out of the world: I know little of present-day Dublin or London or Paris, even less of post-modernity, post-structuralism, hard rock or rap, and I cannot write with much conviction about the contemporary scene." [Patrick O'Brian: Critical Essays and a Bibliography, edited by Arthur Cunningham]. In fact, Mr. O'Brian often seemed to have walked out of another era, and in his interactions with his publisher, he displayed a level of courtesy and civility rarely seen in our times.

Author biography courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Richard Patrick Russ
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 12, 1914
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire
    1. Date of Death:
      January 2, 2000
    2. Place of Death:
      Dublin, Ireland

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    Lost in a Welsh mist

    I'm not sure I quite got it. Though I could see the precise and detailed description that are characteristic of the Aubrey/Maturin tales, the story itself was vague and somewhat ephemeral. The story did not flow and made presumptions that I seem to have lost. I was particularly confused by the chapters that shifted to the interview style. This was really a short story or novelette and it felt as if O'brian was experimenting with various techniques and perhaps in that sense it interesting as precursor to his later works.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2005

    Amazing

    I recently started reading this book and I just can't put it down! It's a truely amazing love story.

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