Sunday, February 24, 2013

Favorite Books 16

Book Review Mark Twain Pudd'nhead Wilson Henry Rider Haggard She
Book: The Tragedy of Pudd'nHead Wilson (aka, 'Pudd'nHead Wilson')
Author: Mark Twain (alias, Samuel Langhorne Clemens) (American, 1835-1910)


Original Language: English
Year: 1894
Category: Drama

Summary: Dawson's Landing is a town near the Mississippi river (a real town) where David Wilson came to try his luck to make some fortune in the city. Now after landing he makes an apparently clever remark about a yelling dog (that, he would kill half of the dog if he would own the half of the dog). But he made the remark in front of some people who didn't understand him, and he was coined as "Pudd'nHead" and the name spreaded like wind. So he couldn't make fortune, but eventually settled with palmistry and with his hobby of collecting fingerprints and palmprints.

Judge Discroll has a faithful maid slave 'Roxy' who is taking care of Discroll's son Tom Discroll, and also her own son Chambers. Roxy was 1/16th black, and Chambers was 1/32nd black, and also Tom and Chambers looked alike. Now Roxy made a shrewd trick to exchange them for each other. So changing their dresses in one night, now Tom becomes Chambers and Chamber becomes Tom. So Chambers now started growing up in heavenly cares and Tom was growing up as a slave child.

Chambers had totally gone ashtray and becomes a super culprit in every aspects of shrewdness and cunning behaviour. He became frugal, illiterate, addicted to gambling and became a devil in every possible way. He even kills his uncle for money, but could transfer the false charge of killing to Luigi Capello and Angelo Capello who are two Counts from Italy. Now Pudd'nHead Wilson is pleading for the Capello brothers. Let's see how he resolves the case.

Comments: The story is very much interesting and the sense of humour of Mark Twain makes it even a better reading. The portrayal of an ultimate culprit is undoubtedly witty. The plot was arranged nicely and the final stage is predictable anyway. But Mark Twain actually wanted to write a story on seeing two conjoined twins. Interestingly the Capello brothers are twins, but Chambers and Tom are not twins - though they look similar. I don't know if the author wanted to mean something profound through this (the story doesn't make you think that there might be any profound meaning to this). But the story is much too attractive and will stick you to the pages until you finish. Though Mr. Wilson plays a vital role in solving a murder case, but the main character of the story is the ultimate culprit Mr. Chambers. So I am a little confused if the name of the story is perfect. Even it doesn't show very much of his tragedy in that sense. But anyway, overall it is a very enjoyable novel.

English ebook is avaialble from Project Gutenberg: Mark Twain - The Tragedy of Pudd'nHead Wilson (epub and other formats)

English PDF available from Pennsylvania State University. Available at (667 KB): Mark Twain - The Tragedy of Pudd'nHead Wilson


Book: She - A History of Adventure

Author: Henry Rider Haggard (British, 1856-1925)


Original Language: English
Year: 1887
Category: Adventure, Fantasy

Summary: Horace Holly is a polymath who has been given the responsibility to bear up Leo Vincey by one of his dying friend Vincey. Before dying the friend gave him some specific instructions about a box which is to be opened on the 25th birthday of Leo. So he did - opened it on his 25th birthday and found some amazing and interesting history in some papers and artifacts in the box.

The short history was like this - long time ago there was a priest Kallikrates who married Amenartas of the tribe. But since Amenartas was the princess of the tribe and they married in secret so they had to flee and eventually reached the land of Amahagger tribe. This tribe had an amazingly beautiful and immortal queen Ayesha who fell in love with Kallikrates but on refusal killed him on the heat of the rage. But then she became so repentant that she started waiting for decades and centuries for Kallikrates to be reborn and come back to her forgiving her sin. However the artifact in the box was written by Amenartas who cursed Ayesha and instructed her ancestors to take revenge of her. Now the ancestor is supposed to be Leo.

On this, the two decided to set on a journey to this mysterious place and see what's really out there. They reached there and Ayesha found that Leo is actually
reborn as Kallikrates for whom she is awaiting for milleniums. But Leo is already married to Ustane on reaching the land, so Ayesha needs to kill Ustane. Leo cannot get rid of Ayesha's beauty and forgives her sin of killing himself a long time ago, and also killing of Ustane. But before they can copulate, Leo needs to go through the flame of immortality to attain to the same power of Ayesha. Let's see what happens.

Comment: The book was suggested by Kafi Mahfuz. This is one other classic adventure and fantasy from Mr. Haggard. The amazing description of Ayesha's beauty is once again very much sensational. The adventure was doubtlessly powerful enough to stick the reader to the pages until s/he finishes.

One glitch was observed - if Ayesha could see them coming through her magic water, she must have seen Leo through it, rather than discovering him later. But again, there might be several explanations, but the thing is none was provided. It would not cost much but would make the glitch removed. Anyway, the glitch can be overseen.

It is interesting to note that in most of the books there appears an apparently ugly, but at the same time a witty and honest man. For example, in this book Horace Holly is like that, and in the Alan Quatermain series he himself (Alan) is such a man. It is often said that writers tend to inhibit themselves in some of the leading characters. I don't know if Sir Haggard tried to reflect himself through the characters or not. Or may be he tried to reflect the fact that appearance is not all - judge people by their inner looks.

There is a 1965 movie titled SHE where Bond Girl Ursula Andress played the role of Ayesha. But like most movie adoptions from books, the movie is also completely different from the story, anyway.


English ebook is available at Project Gutenberg. Available at: Henry Rider Haggard - She (epub and other formats)

English PDF available at PinkMonkey. Available at (519 KB): Henry Rider Haggard - She (English PDF)
Bangla translation is available by Seba Prokashoni. Translated by Niaz Morshed.

Let us buy paper books. Let's enrich our mind and home library.