adventures in dysthymia

Friday, August 12, 2011

SARD HARKER by John Masefield ~ sort of a review

I had read Masefield's adventure novel, Sard Harker, some twenty-five years ago and decided to pull it off the shelf to give it another look. Masefield is better know, of course, for his poems, particularly the ones that speak of the sea, and the long piece, Reynard the Fox.

Although essentially a bit of adventure entertainment, Sard Harker (Masefield wrote of various and sundry members of the Harker family in his novels and stories), it also reflects the author's tendency toward the occasional romantic mysticism, as 'visions' of one sort or another play a central role in the plot.

Indeed, the entire book is somewhat about visions and dreams and the futures men and women create for themselves. For Sard, that entails a movement from a narrow vision of himself as a seaman to a new wider world of love and life ashore. It is a quest story in every sense.

The language of this novel veers back and forth a bit from Masefield's natural poetic voice to a rather hurried pot-boiler style suited to general consumption. It is by no means a great book, either in scope or consummation, but it has its moments.

It is also not a very big book. Big enough for its story and no bigger -- there is little in the way of subplot or digression from the main narrative and journey of the protagonist. I suppose, however, it is quite exotic enough with the elements it contains, the sea, Central America, bandits, dictators, Satanist kidnappers, and dreams of a long lost love.

The copy of Sard Harker on my shelf is quite old, from my grandfather's library. I don't know if the book is in print today so good luck if you look for a copy!

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Dang! I've been knocked offline five times already this morning. I do hope to be using the new PC as my main internet machine very soon but first must finish downloading the very large anti-virus program for it. That's taking days with my slow connection, with lots of pauses and restarts. At least I haven't lost the download, though who knows if the file will be intact when I'm done!

My nursery order came yesterday. I'm busy planting stuff now. Busy with lots of stuff that came up all at once so I'm not going to be online much anyway for a little while.

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