A High Wind in Jamaica (Vintage Hughes)

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A High Wind in Jamaica (Vintage Hughes)

A High Wind in Jamaica (Vintage Hughes)

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The eye of an alligator is large, protruding, and of a brilliant yellow, with a slit pupil like a cat’s. A cat’s eye, to the casual observer, is expressionless: though with attention one can distinguish in it many changes of emotion. But the eye of an alligator is infinitely more stony, and brilliant - reptilian.

I first saw "A High Wind in Jamaica" in the late sixties one evening on late night TV. It's a compelling, realistic, well-filmed action movie with outstanding performances by Anthony Quinn and James Coburn and a fast-paced, exciting storyline. It even features a brief appearance by Gert Frobe, of "Goldfinger" fame. In the final scene children play innocently by a lake. Emily stands amongst them—staring at a model ship with adult eyes.

And then an event did occur, to Emily, of considerable importance. She suddenly realized who she was. New edition of a classic adventure novel and one of the most startling, highly praised stories in English literature--a brilliant chronicle of two sensitive children's violent voyage from innocence to experience. Harold Cohen: "The Drama Desk: Addenda,'" The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Tuesday, 23 October 1943), p. 24 Kim demişti ya da nereden okudum hatırlayamıyorum, bu kitabın Peter Pan ile Sineklerin Tanrısının bir karışımı olarak kabul edilebileceğini. Evet, kitap bir yanıyla Peter Pan kadar büyülü ve çocuksuyken bir yanıyla Sineklerin Tanrısı kadar vahşi ve acımasız. Kitabı bu tuhaf karışımdan fazlası yapan ise Richard Hughes'un okuru hem alabildiğine çocukluğun bilinmeyen derinliklerine daldıran hem de belli mesafede tutan muhteşem tekniği. Bir çocuğun iç çalkantılarını, düşünce şeklini, bilişsel çarpıtmalarını, benmerkezciliğini, yeni yeni keşfettiği vicdanıyla hesaplaşmasını, savunma mekanizmalarını tüm açıklığıyla anlıyor, sınırlı bakış açımızlaysa sezdirilenleri keşfetmeye çalışıyoruz. Arka planda ise sömürgecilik ve Doris Lessing kitaplarından aşina olduğumuz sömürgelerdeki İngilizlerin muhtaçlığı ve sefaleti var. Çok başarılı bir roman. Bu zamana kadar okumadığıma üzüldüm açıkçası. Bunda denizde geçen, denizcilik terimleri içeren kitaplardan kaçmamın da payı var elbet. Neyse ki Jaguar sayesinde bu gözden kaçmış şaheseri okuyabildim. Teşekkürler Jaguar! 5/5 The novel presents these idiosyncratic and imaginative children first in the lush and exotic tropics, shaken by earthquakes, threatened by a hurricane, surrounded by servants and serpents and clueless English adults. They operate almost as a cult with its own system of taboos and holies, and the genius loci is a fierce cat named Tabby, assailed by wilder beings during a lightning fusillade, and who screeches about “with a tone of voice the children had never heard before and which made their blood run cold.” This is where Hughes goes over the top, as he often does, with language which still never quite loses its voltage and prevents the reader from believing this is an adventure story of the usual sort: “He seemed like one inspired in the presence of Death, he had gone utterly Delphic: and without in the passage Hell’s pandemonium ruled terrifically.” Not easy going, this syntax, but it serves as a reminder that the children have something of the demonic about them. The braid of innocence and wiliness have much to do with the flavor of this novel in which the pirate crew and the gaggle (or perhaps “pride”) of children alternate between peaceful playfulness and terrorizing one another.

Others [ who?] lauded Hughes for contradicting the Victorian romances of childhood by portraying the children without emotional reduction. The book is often given credit for influencing and paving the way for novels such as Lord of the Flies by William Golding.Hughes did not publish his next novel for 22 years. A Fox in the Attic was planned as the opening volume of a tetralogy bearing the portentous title “The Human Predicament”. It was an impressive and unusual historical novel, based on lengthy research and chronicling the rise of Nazism. The book had a similar divergence of tone - what Kenneth Allsop called “the sinister and the frolicsome” - that he had employed so brilliantly in A High Wind in Jamaica. A High Wind in Jamaica is a 1929 novel by the Welsh writer Richard Hughes, which was made into a film of the same name in 1965. The book was initially titled The Innocent Voyage and published by Harper & Brothers in the spring of that year. Several months later Hughes renamed his novel in time for its British publication, [1] and Harper followed suit. [2] The original title retained some currency, as evidenced by Paul Osborn's 1943 stage adaptation. [3] [4] There have since been two radio adaptations (one written in 1950 by Jane Speed for NBC University Theater; [5] the other in 2000 by Bryony Lavery for BBC Radio 4 [6]), with the title A High Wind in Jamaica. A High Wind in Jamaica was Richard Hughes’s first novel. It was written over a peculiarly anxious and difficult period of his life when he was in his mid-to-late twenties. His engagement to a young poet, Nancy Stallibrass, had been broken off a few days before the date of the wedding, and he suffered a nervous collapse. In his depression he was able to write for not more than “ten minutes at a time” and often found that he could not “write at all for days together”. This book does not moralize. It is light reading, but also very heavy if you want to read into it. But most of all, it is light.

Over the next five or six years I used to see him occasionally at parties in London. He always came up to me, a sympathetic but shy presence with whom it was difficult sometimes to strike up an easy conversation. It was as if this silence guarded his luminous talent which, like a genie in a bottle, could be let out only when a magic code released it, to play what awful games it might - as it had in his masterpiece.

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There is little reason that one can see why it should not have happened to her five years earlier, or even five later; and none, why it should have come that particular afternoon. We had a snow storm that lasted 36 hours or so. While the wind howled outside, I sat by the fireplace with this book all day yesterday. I grabbed it again this morning and, funny thing, the storm let down about the time I finished it this afternoon. Now I don’t know if the storm was so bad as I recall it, or it was this disturbing story that made everything look so dark and disquieting for the past 2 days. In this novel Richard Hughes undertook a very special journey into the world of children’s consciousness therefore the book is unique. This book resists to the very end in giving you the sentimentalism you want, in giving in to your pre-conceived ideas of how things should be. And for that it is pure genius. Contado así puede parecer un simple libro juvenil de aventuras, pero la novela por suerte no se queda en la superficie. Richard Hughes se dedicará durante diez capítulos a diseccionar y bucear en la mente de esos niños hasta dejarnos boquiabiertos. Su actitud, su comportamiento, el más pequeño de sus pensamientos, la frialdad con la que reaccionarán ante determinados hechos...nada escapa a la pluma de Hughes mientras nos cuenta la fascinante relación amor-odio-miedo que es establece entre los piratas y los niños.

This 1929 novel is the masterpiece of the British author Richard Hughes (1900-1976). He wrote other works, several of which, like this one, have been reprinted in recent years by NYRB. But High Wind in Jamaica (also called Innocent Voyage) has been rated on GR by more than twenty times the number of readers as any of these other works. I first became aware of the novel forty or fifty years ago, from my old copy of Good Reading, in which it is described as “a revealing study of the separate world of childhood.” They gazed at him in astonishment and disillusion. There is a period in the relations of children with any new grown-up in charge of them, the period between first acquaintance and the first reproof, which can only be compared to the primordial innocence of Eden. Once a reproof has been administered, this can never be recovered again. No more of the plot will be revealed here, except to say that an unpredictable series of events causes disaster for all involved. The very ending is one of the most poignant scenes I've ever seen in any film. Next, the narrator: he is so funny. He's always coming in at odd times to tell us his opinion, but rarely outright. He's subtle about it.New York Guild Enters 3rd Play: 'Innocent Voyage' Follows on Heels of 'Oklahoma'; and 'Othello,'" The Gazette (Montreal) (Tuesday, 16 November 1943), p. 3

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