❰Reading❯ ➸ Kai Lung's Golden Hours Author Ernest Bramah – Dolove.info
How is it possible to suspend topaz in one cup of the balance and weigh it against amethyst in the other or whocan compare the tranquillising grace of a maiden with the invigorating pleasure of witnessing a well contested rat fight Forget the frenetic world of Facebook, the torrent of trivia that is Twitter This review brings you something different This review wants you to Relax This review invites you to kick back, turn off the phone, and enjoy the journey in the company of Ernest Bramah s wonderful Oriental creation Kai Lung, itinerant story teller, master of Litotes, Euphemism and Understatement, and Apologist Extraordinary for Slow Reading In KLGH, Kai Lung, captured by the Shan Tien and the secretary of his hand, the contemptible Ming shu , is befriended by the maiden Hwa mei Between them, Scheherazade like, they tell Shan Tien story after story to postpone Kai Lung s execution But the plot is the merest nothing it s all about the sly witty stories, and the delightful confection of a totally illusory world Ernest Bramah never visited China in spite of the mock Oriental language he uses to such effectThe full roundness of your illustrious outline is as a display of coloured lights to gladden my commonplace vision orMay bats defile his Ancestral Tablets and goats propagate within his neglected tomb chanted the band in unison May the sinews of his hams snap suddenly in moments of achievement orYour insight is clear and unbiased, said the gracious Sovereign But however entrancing it is to wander unchecked through a garden of bright images, are we not enticing your mind from another subject of almost equal importanceA line Dorothy Sayers lifts to use in Busman s Honeymoon, incidentally But it s doubtful whether the China Bramah writes about ever really existed anyway Cunning beggars, wily maidens, power crazed mandarins, naive youths they may appear superficially Chinese, but only to the extent that Gilbert s Gentlemen of Japan in the Mikado are really Japanese What s actually going on is a delightful satire of late Victorian England, and universal folliesYet, protested the story teller hopefully, it is wisely written He who never opens his mouth in strife can always close his eyes in peace Doubtless, assented the other He can close his eyes assuredly Whether he will ever again open them is another matter orIt is a mark of insincerity of purpose to spend one s time in looking for the sacred Emperor in the low class tea shops This is writing that revels in being artificial, in using elaborate politeness and contrived phrases in all circumstances however inappropriateSo long as we do not lose sight of the necessity whereby my official position will presently involve me in condemning you to a painful death, and your loyal subjection will necessitate your whole hearted co operation in the act, there is no reason why the flower of literary excellence should wither for lack of mutual husbandry, remarked Shan Tien tolerantly Your enlightened patronage is a continual nourishment to the soil of my imagination, replied the story teller.This is story telling that demands, and rewards attention The pay offs are obliqueThe person who has performed this slight service is Ting, of the outcast line of Lao, said the student with an admiring bow Having as yet achieved nothing, the world lies before him She who speaks is Hoa mi, her father s house being Chun, replied the maiden agreeably He possesses a wooden plough, two wheel barrows, a red bow with threescore arrows, and a rice field, and is therefore a person of some consequence True, agreed Lao Ting, though perhaps the dignity is less imposing than might be imagined in the eye of one who, by means of successive examinations, may ultimately become the Right hand of the Emperor Is the contingency an impending one inquired Hoa mi, with polite interest So far, admitted Lao Ting, it is in the nature of a vision There are, of necessity, many trials, and few can reach the ultimate end Yet even the Yangtze kiang has a sourceI keep KLGH by my bed It s my go to book for ingenious stories where every line is a joy and there is something for everyone The prosperous and substantial find contentment in hearing of the unassuming virtues and frugal lives of the poor and unsuccessful Those of humble origin, especially tea house maidens and the like, are only really at home among stories of the exalted and quick moving, the profusion of their robes, the magnificence of their palaces, and the general high minded depravity of their lives. A Popular English Author Of Considerable Repute In His Day, Ernest Bramah Published Twenty One Books And Numerous Short Stories His Science Fiction Was Compared To The Works Of H G Wells, His Detective Stories With Conan Doyle S, And His Humorous Novels With Those Of Jerome K Jerome Bramah Was Also Famed For His Traditional Tales Of Chinese Literature Brimming With Colorful Characters And Concepts, These Exotic Fantasies Are Filled With Corrupt Mandarins, Beautiful Maidens, Greedy Merchants, Alchemical Potions, And A Captivating Collection That S Ripe For Rediscovery, Kai Lung S Golden Hours Stands As The Very Best Of These Beguiling BooksKai Lung Is A Wandering Storyteller Accused Of Treason And Like Scheherazade Of The One Thousand And One Arabian Nights, He Must Rely Upon His Silver Tongue To Escape Conviction With The Help Of Beautiful Hwa Mei, Who Has The Attention Of Evil Ming Shu, Kai Tries To Regain His Freedom By Spinning A Series Of Entertaining Tales That Intrigue His Captor Laced With Romance And Adventure, Spiced With Fantasy And The Supernatural, These Stories Will Transport Readers To A Mandarin S Court In Ancient China This humble and inoffensive person, whose views could not possibly be of interest to exalted personages who might, by the influence of malign spirits, stumble across them, nevertheless dares to recommend this book as being replete with sayings of remarkable wisdom, such as the following There is a time to silence an adversary with the honey of logical persuasion, and there is a time to silence him with the argument of a heavily directed club It has been saidthat there are few situations in life that cannot honourably be settled, and without loss of time, either by suicide, a bag of gold, or by thrusting a despised antagonist over the edge of a precipice upon a dark night. I tried to write my comments on Ernest Bramah s Kai Lung s Golden Hours, which I just finished, in the same style In the opinion of this lowly reader, the esteemed author before our unworthy eyes has created a gem of the highest quality, polished by fine craft.But you can only do this so long before you get frustrated, which is why you have to admire Bramah, because he could maintain this oblique and ornate style throughout and still manage to tell a compelling and, than often, extremely humorous story.The titular character, Kai Lung, is a storyteller who runs afoul of the local authorities, in particular a rather nasty advisor The problem is that Kai has set his eyes on a most beautiful young woman who is also highly desired by the advisor, and the mandarin in charge is quite corrupt The one saving grace for Kai Lung is that the mandarin also likes a good story Like Scherazade, Kai Lung is therefore in the positive of entertaining for his life, and that he is able to accomplish this is not due to the fragment of 1001 stories available to him, but also the help of his beloved a fairly strong female character given the situation and the date this was written, 1922.Not everyone will care for this book, because a style as circular and dense as this doesn t lead itself to the short attention span generation only James Branch Cabell has a elaborate, yet beautiful, prose form in fantasy I don t know what it was about the 1920s that enabled the creation of such great comedy Bramah, Cabell, P.G Wodehouse who first became popular as a novelist in the 1920s , Thorne Smith Maybe it was the post War jubilation, the underground of prohibition, or the pre Depression stockmarket Not ours to wonder why, but just to enjoy and laugh. This book is orientalism cranked up to eleven, and, though I can t speak to how it felt when it was originally published one hundred years ago, to me that orientalism feels weird now It s like if someone from outside the U.S wrote a book about cowboys that eat nothing but cheeseburgers and apple pie who get guidance from the ghost of George Washington and messages delivered by bald eagles, and the cowboys having to win a baseball game against a team owned by an obese businessman who manufactures Coca Cola and assault rifles I mean, even though that sounds like it could be pretty cool if done well, if the author were from India or Cambodia or somewhere and had no direct experience with the United States, it couldn t help but be strange, right That s the deal with Kai Lung s Golden Hours, written by a man who never left Europe, much less visited China.Having no direct experience with his book s setting, the book s author Ernest Bramah basically made things up at of whole cloth Take the writing, for instance Alas, instructor, interposed Shan Tien compassionately, the sympathetic concern of my mind overflows upon the spectacle of your ill used forbearance, yet you having banded together the two in a common infamy, it is the ancient privilege of this one to call the other to his cause We are but the feeble mouthpieces of a benevolent scheme of all embracing justice and greatly do I fear we must again submit This is the style of the entirety of Kai Lung s Golden Hours It s intentionally overwritten by Bramah so as to evoke the orient, but that intentionality doesn t make the writing style any less awkward or prolix The bad writing is a particularly serious flaw because Bramah evidently thought that the writing could make up for a lack of interesting plot or characters It can t In terms of the story, Kai Lung s Golden Hours is One Thousand and One Nights set in China instead of the Middle East Kai Lung is to be executed, but always manages to push back the execution one day thanks to his storytelling The resolution is different, to be fair, but it s also not at all satisfying, Kai Lung forcing his release by essentially threatening to call in a higher ranked mandarin, something he seemingly could have done from the very beginning The stories that Kai Lung tells, which make up the majority of the book, are so uninteresting that I have nothing to say about them There are no characters, merely archetypes, and flat ones at that Kai Lung is the storyteller, he has a love interest that helps him, a corrupt official that wants him executed, a foolish jailer, and not one of them has any depth Are you supposed to be laughing with the book s characters, or at them Bramah doesn t make that clear.Bramah copied the story structure of One Thousand and One Nights, coated it in a layer of orientalism so thick that it s off putting, failed to tell a compelling story, and didn t even attempt to write any characters with depth To top it all off, the affectation of the writing makes it actively unpleasant to read 1.5 5 stars, rounding up to 2 for now. Didn t expect to like this book so much I liked the way it began, was intrigued and then lured along in like manner the whole way through It s the premise that hooked me Here s Kai Lung, a professional story teller, who claims he knows a story for every situation in life He s a bit cocky on that score He gets thrown in jail, and soon takes on the role of a male Scheherazade, telling stories to save his life His own story isn t that amazing, but the stories he tells And it s not even that it s the idea that there is a story for every situation Not a new idea, I realize, but in this setting it really got me thinking In a sense, this is one of the realistic books I ve ever read in the way it mirrors life I mean, we each have our own story, but as our story unfolds, it is the stories we are told and the stories we tell ourselves that truly affect and change our own story life I know this from experience So I m just a little amazed and sitting back right now, wondering if I have a story for every situation It s a challenge. Such a guilty pleasure No one writes sentences like he did irony especially litotes reigns supreme, accompanied by lashings of euphemism It has been said, he began at length, withdrawing his eyes reluctantly from an unusually large insect upon the ceiling and addressing himself to the maiden, that there are few situations in life that cannot be honourably settled, and without any loss of time, either by suicide, a bag of gold, or by thrusting a despised antagonist over the edge of a precipice on a dark night He plays up the Chinoiserie aspect but it is mostly satirical of Victorian Britain The prosperous and substantial find contentment in hearing of the unassuming virtues and frugal lives of the poor and unsuccessful Those of humble origin, especially tea house maidens and the like, are only really at home among stories of the exalted and quick moving, the profusion of their robes, the magnificence of their palaces, and the general high minded depravity of their lives. The China of Ernest Bramah s Kai Lung stories is no a real place than Tolkien s Middle Earth It is a fantasy realm It should be approached from that mindset.There is an overarching narrative line to Kai Lung s Golden Hours but it is of a device than a plot The book exists largely to hold the stories, and the stories exist largely to hold Bramah s words, his witticisms and observations Aside from that, the tales are amusing but rather slight.One might see the influence of Bramah s friend and mentor Jerome K Jerome in the work It certainly mines the same vein of tongue in cheek British humor The fantasy element, however, adds another layer to this, gives it a timeless quality Golden Hours is by no means a great book, but it remains an enjoyable read. Written in 1925, the language is quite different but rewarding The over arching story line is similar to Arabian nights with each tale putting off the end of the story teller For anyone who loves mythical tales from the past. I don t know much about Chinese culture or anything, but I really enjoyed this book It s similar to 1001 Nights where the narrator tells stories to delay his death The language and narration takes a little getting used to, but it has a lot of subtle and not so subtle wit and humor.