Mr. Midshipman and Lieutenant Hornblower, by C.S. Forester

Yesterday I wrote about how I was THISCLOSE to making a new British bff on the metro, but my reading selection was a day late and a book short. The woulda, coulda, shoulda in my head started making up how the conversation should have gone if he had met me just one book earlier in my reading list.

As I typed yesterday my almost conversation with him became more and more clear and I figured, why not open the floodgates of my imagination? Maybe write my review of my two recent reads Mr. Midshipman Hornblower and Lieutenant Hornblower as a mock conversation?

My imagination needs a stretch, the chance to exercise, and grow. The time is now! So release the hounds! Free Willy! Open Sesame! Let my people go (sung in a deep baritone)!!! Okay, not all of those made sense, but you get the idea. Behold what happens when this Lusty Reader’s imagination roams freely:

Act 1 Scene 1 Setting:

Ballston Metro platform at evening rush hour. Commuters and tourists mingle as they await the next orange line train on the overcrowded and dim walkway.

[LUSTY READER enters via left escalator, promptly cracking open her book. BRITISH TOURIST sidles over]

BT: ‘Ello there duckie, wotcha readin?

LR: Why I am so glad you asked kind sir! And welcome to this country! (Flips bookcover towards BT showing plainly her erudite literary choice of Lieutenant Hornblower) I’m just starting to get into this Hornblower character.

BT: Blimey! How d’you fancy the chap then?

LR: The first book was tough, as he had no friends, no one to bounce ideas off of, and no real conversations (internal OR external) for us to really get to know him. It seemed like a collection of short stories with faint character growth in the background. I mean I got that he was super smart, good at math/navigation, fair when dealing with difficult crewmates, and genius thinking outside the box for new plans of attack on the damn French Frogs and Spanish Dons. This second book is better, but is almost all told from his new friend Bush’s point of view, and many of Hornblower’s actions take place off stage with Bush (and us the reader) not finding out until later from a 3rd person perspective. It’s not really my narrative preference, I can’t get a feel for our hero!

BT: Right-ho, per chance you might know that C.S. Forester wrote about Hornblower in serial format for magazines?

LR: I did hear that, which makes more sense why each chapter is a unique vignette, but that doesn’t mean I liked it that way. My personal preference is plots that are mixed-both character and plot driven, and so far they have been super plot driven only. But I do love reading about that time period, the Napoleonic Wars. The culture, politics, navy life, and social rules of the time are fascinating!

BT: You cheeky monkey, that’s the second most popular British literature character you are criticising! You should got for the full monty, read all the books, the first one Forester ever wrote was Beat to Quarters and then A Ship of the Line and they are supposed to be some of the best, about Hornblower mid-way through his career. Then Forester wrote the ones you’re reading about Hornblower’s early years later. Also the later books have a jolly good romance story line!

LR: Ooohthat sounds right up my alley. I just don’t know if I want to invest the time in reading that far. I would rate the first two books as B- for me right now. So they’re good, and  would recommend them to plenty of people, I just can’t get really into them.

BT:  Oh well it’s horses for courses* I suppose. If the books aren’t your cuppa tea, you might try the Hornblower TV series. Me mates and I thought it was the mutt’s nutts**. So don’t fanny about with reading em anymore; if you just want to see the good bits get the DVDs!

LR: Wow, thanks so much for the recommendation! I don’t know if my hubby will really go for it, but I’ll try and sneak it on the Netflix queue. Have a great trip in DC!

BT: Pip pip, cheers and cheerio then!


*look i’m sure my blog readers are geniuses and all, but that british slang was new to me: *to each his own and **the bee’s knees. And YES all british people talk like that. It’s MY imagination ok?


6 Responses

  1. Any post that says “blarney” in it is okay by me.

  2. i really wanted to fit bollocks, rumpy pumpy, or codswallop in there somehow, but i couldn’t be TOTALLY unrealistic. sigh.

  3. Bloody Hell! You have one clever imagination! I thought it was hilarious and I even tried reading the post outloud and found it even better. LOL!

    Ballston is where Hubby lived when we started dating. In the townhouses across the street from the IHOP. That place was always so bloody busy every weekend morning that we ended up driving down to the Silver Diner instead. But when we could we would go to IHOP (or as my dad calls it IHOPS. Why the ‘S’ Dad?)

  4. The A&E shows don’t really stay true to the novels, unfortunately. Have you seen the film adaptation of Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World? It’s excellent.

  5. Planet books: I definitely spoke out loud when I typed it to get the full effect ;) I’m ashamed to say that I’ve worked in Ballston and know almost nothing of the area, I just hop on the metro in DC and hop off here with no exploring. But my office IS right next to the IHOP, the big blue roof is hard to miss!

    Malnurtured Snay: I did watch Master and Commander with my Dad, and was surprised by how much I liked it!

    This post was freakin’ genius! You cheeky monkey, you:)

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