Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin Novels

hitmouse

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Pretty sure I saw a Aubrey Maturin cookery book a few years ago. I think it had a foreword by Michael Portillo.
 

Vince W

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Is this the one you mean?
51p5TEcIxbL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I have this book and the recipes are quite interesting.
 

Extollager

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I've finished a second reading of Master and Commander, and certainly will not want to wait till September to read Post Captain, but perhaps I can hold off on comments on that one till later, if I read it ahead of schedule.

I had read it 27 years ago and liked it, but this time I liked it more. What marvelous storytelling! I admit I did keep thinking of the movie, which is probably my favorite new movie of the last 20 years. That probably did color my reading experience -- but what a book, even allowing for that.
 

hitmouse

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I've finished a second reading of Master and Commander, and certainly will not want to wait till September to read Post Captain, but perhaps I can hold off on comments on that one till later, if I read it ahead of schedule.

One thingto note is that (from my creaky memory) Jack’s comments in the film about Nelson appear to lifted from the first book.

I had read it 27 years ago and liked it, but this time I liked it more. What marvelous storytelling! I admit I did keep thinking of the movie, which is probably my favorite new movie of the last 20 years. That probably did color my reading experience -- but what a book, even allowing for that.
Halfway through my reread, so keep your powder dry and I shall be delighted to discuss next week. It isa very well- written book isn’t it?
 

Vince W

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Does anyone else get the impression that when O'Brian started this book that Stephen Maturin is meant to be us, the readers, and is used mainly to teach us the workings of a sailing vessel in Nelson's navy? I mean, he's a good character still, but in this book we spend a lot of time touring and learning about the Sophie along with him. What is truly telling about this is that O'Brian still manages to make it so damned interesting, otherwise he would never have gotten a second book published.

I'm not sure that if these books were published today for the first time that there would have been a second book.
 

Vertigo

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Does anyone else get the impression that when O'Brian started this book that Stephen Maturin is meant to be us, the readers, and is used mainly to teach us the workings of a sailing vessel in Nelson's navy? I mean, he's a good character still, but in this book we spend a lot of time touring and learning about the Sophie along with him. What is truly telling about this is that O'Brian still manages to make it so damned interesting, otherwise he would never have gotten a second book published.

I'm not sure that if these books were published today for the first time that there would have been a second book.
I suspect you're right on both counts. Maturin is used as a teaching tool a lot in the first book but also as the series progresses. And I also believe it wasn't originally intended to be a series and, as you say, today it might never have made it to one.
 

Extollager

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My reading was largely of the "What happens next?" type, so I was not as attentive to other things as I might have been. Is Maturin a man of divided loyalties?
 

Vertigo

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My reading was largely of the "What happens next?" type, so I was not as attentive to other things as I might have been. Is Maturin a man of divided loyalties?
Yes, to a certain extent. He sympathises with the Irish independence movement, hating oppression in any form, but he hates everything Napoleon stands for with an even greater fervour and sees England as the only country that has any chance of stopping him. So he will work for England despite his Irish sympathies. That said the split nature of his loyalties seems to diminish, or at least receive less emphasis, as the series progresses. Interestingly I don't remember O'Brian ever elucidating exactly why he has such a hatred for Napoleon. I might have missed or forgotten it, of course.
 

hitmouse

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I suspect you're right on both counts. Maturin is used as a teaching tool a lot in the first book but also as the series progresses. And I also believe it wasn't originally intended to be a series and, as you say, today it might never have made it to one.
Agree that Maturin serves that function to an extent in the first book, though he quickly becomes a Socratic foil for Aubrey (Brilliant sailor and commander, but otherwise driven by testosterone, of clumsy manners and a bit uncouth.) Maturin is physically unprepossessing, but highly cultured, with a dry sense of humour, and no understanding of how a boat works.

There is a scene in the first book where Maturin asks a sailor to explain the sails, and his eyes glaze over as the detailed explanation proceeds. I think one can take the technical details of tall ship sailing in these books either way. They are very accurate, but can be used as background texture rather than a requirement, unless one is really interested. I have done a fair bit of dingy and small yacht sailing, but I let the O'Brien's details wash over me, and I do not really think I lose much. There is so much else going on: the way the navy works; different social norms; the developing characters, plot, and action.

As the first book in the series Master and Commander is remarkably finished from a stylistic perspective. The style is well conserved in the following books.
 

Extollager

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I think one can take the technical details of tall ship sailing in these books either way. They are very accurate, but can be used as background texture rather than a requirement, unless one is really interested.
Sounds just like what I would hope for.
 

Vince W

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. I think one can take the technical details of tall ship sailing in these books either way. They are very accurate, but can be used as background texture rather than a requirement, unless one is really interested.
I'm one of the ones that finds that sort of detail endlessly fascinating.
 

Extollager

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It's moving ahead of schedule a bit, but shall we discuss the second novel, Post Captain?
 
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