Imatge de l'autor

Richard Hughes (1) (1900–1976)

Autor/a de A High Wind in Jamaica

Per altres autors anomenats Richard Hughes, vegeu la pàgina de desambiguació.

Richard Hughes (1) s'ha combinat en Richard Arthur Warren Hughes.

22+ obres 3,307 Membres 101 Ressenyes 5 preferits


Obres de Richard Hughes

Obres associades

Les obres s'han combinat en Richard Arthur Warren Hughes.

Timescapes (1997) — Col·laborador — 57 exemplars
Fifty Masterpieces of Mystery (1937) — Col·laborador — 13 exemplars


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This somewhat chilling examination of children and of human nature was first published in 1929 and republished decades later as the very first entry in the NYRB classics imprint. Hughes' debut novel, it tells the story of seven British children, ages about 13 to 3, whose ship is captured by pirates around the waters of Cuba; transported to the pirate ship as part of an effort to terrorize the ship's captain, the pirates become accidental kidnappers when they don't notice the ship fleeing from them in the night. At first indifferent to and annoyed by the presence of the children, the pirates discover the children to be alien creatures who provoke conflicting emotions: fondness, desire, and finally fear, while the children themselves adapt easily and joyously to life aboard a pirate ship.

The boundary between childhood and adulthood is presented as a yawning chasm with mutual incomprehension. The children have not yet learned to be "human", a comprehensive transformation which comes with adulthood. Their minds and nature are alien to adults: "I would rather extract information from the devil himself than from a child," a lawyer at the end of the book confesses. Some of the pirates feel affection for the children, these strange creatures, but this difference can provoke dark emotions as well. There is disturbing pedophilia: the oldest child, 13 year old Margaret, becomes the lover of the first mate on the pirate ship, and its captain, Jonsen, in a charged moment while drunk caresses Emily, a child of about 10 or 11, then is overcome by shame, while she does not understand what happened.

The pirates are stupefied by what happens when they capture another vessel and transport its captain to their ship for safekeeping while they sack it. Emily, seeing this captain straining to reach a knife with which to cut himself loose, grabs the knife herself and in a frenzy stabs and slashes him to death. The pirates return from the captured vessel to find the body in a pool of blood and are gobsmacked. But the children have already displayed an apparent cold indifference to death - Emily's 10 year old brother John had broken his neck in an accidental fall while they were with the pirates, and been promptly forgotten about by all.

After rescue, Emily, with what amount of conscious calculation is left unspecified, leaves the impression that Jonsen murdered that captain, in a dramatic courtroom scene. Jonsen is sentenced to death for the murder, while in the novel's final scene, Emily is integrated into a new classroom, while Hughes writes of the little murderer, with a note of ominousness, that "perhaps God could have picked out from among them which was Emily: but I am sure that I could not."

This novel bears obvious parallels with the later novel Lord of the Flies, and I'm left wondering about its portrayal of human nature in childhood. There's an actual real life Lord of the Flies type situation that I read a news story about recently, and happily the children in real life did not become amoral wild things who discard civilization, but rather cooperated and lived peaceably until rescue. On the other hand, you have child soldiers forced into various conflicts worldwide and these children can reportedly become as vicious as you please. However they are forced into it by adults, they don't choose it. Still, it's true that the brains of children are still developing and maturing past their teenage years, so the gulf between childhood and adulthood is real enough, and children surely don't grasp the concepts of consequences and permanence like adults do. There will always be room to explore the difference, and the similarities.
… (més)
lelandleslie | Hi ha 65 ressenyes més | Feb 24, 2024 |
An inconsistent and flawed novel as compared to Fox in the Attic. Hughes meanders into separate stories. Those stories are weak and ask the reader's effort to hold our interest. The stronger sections too often read like a regurgitation of history. The main character, Augustine, as other reviews have pointed out, becomes tedious in his ne'er-do-well meandering around the globe -- from prohibition America to Morocco back to his mansion in England. This sequel to the Fox novel must be accompanied by a warning and clarification that many sections will try the reader's patience and invite skimming.… (més)
forestormes | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | May 10, 2023 |
When I was in first grade, my mom got a copy of this through the Book of the Month Club. As an ambitious reader and lover of animal stories, it caught my eye and I asked Mom if it really was about a fox living in someone's attic, and she said, no, it wasn't that kind of story. Well, 60 years later, I finally got around to finding out for myself that yes, it is in fact a book containing an actual fox of the vulpine variety padding about castle corridors, as well as a predatory human variant.

This dense novel is meandering, discursive, with an interlinked cast of English and German households in the early 1920's. England is "waking from a bad dream," its young men suddenly at sea with the idea that they suddenly have 60 years of life to fill they didn't expect; Germany, plunging "deeper into nightmare," some of its young men continuing to murder in remote places on their own with vengeance in their blood. A monarchy falls, then is sort of restored, and a strange bug-eyed pasty-faced little weirdo delivers hour-long political rants at social affairs while stuffing his face with cream cakes, and tries to bring down the government from the tabletops of a beer hall. A callow, sweet young Welshman spared the trenches by a few days, visits German cousins, and falls headlong for a devout, beautiful girl who goes blind overnight, as he invents rollicking games with the children. The wife of a dying veteran loses one child in a mysterious accident in a marsh shortly before giving birth to another, her grief twisting her feelings for the newborn into indifference and resentment. The cake-eating weirdo, hiding out in another attic room, writhes in delirium and pain as the police are searching for him, to be hauled away tangled in a blue bathrobe. The human sociopath plans more bloodshed from his attic, where the little fox creeps and yips, rather as the blind girl does, emitting small cries to try to orient herself as she gropes up the attic stairs.

Much of the writing is gorgeous - the opening marsh scenes reminiscent of Pip's terrified stumble through the churchyard of Great Expectations. There are ruminations on the complexities of the human individual ("I-ness") and how it fits - or rejects - its "penumbra" of connected others ("We-ness"), and the sometimes lethal rejection of Others outside that sheltering penumbra - lethal both to "Them" as well as the "I" and the "We." Some parts are slow and opaque; others crisp and charming, poignant and tragic. Repays patient attention with much reward.
… (més)
JulieStielstra | Hi ha 10 ressenyes més | Apr 7, 2023 |
“At nightfall the days drowsing doubts, like roosting owls, tend to take wing and hoot.” It is not often that I encounter superlative craft like this serving superlative story-telling. Such is the deep satisfaction I encountered in Richard Hughes’ novel, The Fox in the Attic. I was unprepared for how skillfully Hughes gradually develops the story of a young Englishman’s visit to his aristocratic German cousin in 1923 post-World War I Germany. The descriptions of the German family, especially the children, are beautifully developed and written. No surprise here, coming from the author of, A High Wind in Jamaica. Hughes’s description of Hitler during and after the attempted putsch creates a lasting, disturbing shutter. His initial psychological section early in the novel, explaining how the “I,” and the, “they,” develop as we mature into normal adulthood, is later applied to his young cousin’s religious love of God, then terrifyingly applied to Hitler. “I am, none else besides me.” “The universe contained no other persons than him, only things….”, This novel is no less relevant to the world of 2023 as it was to the world of 1923 when Hughes published it in 1961. I would urge patience with early sections of the novel, its description of rural Wales along with certain English words unfamiliar to some Americans. You will find their meaning in a decent dictionary. The patience and tolerance is well worth any effort in this well-crafted masterpiece. FYI, if necessary. Much of the novel occurs in Munich, Germany, 1923. For those who question the space Hughes devoted to the attempted Hitler-putsch, they should be aware that the putsch-attempt occurred in Munich, Germany, 1923. Any worthy novelist would find it impossible to avoid devoting space to the putsch if their setting was Munich in the year of 1923.… (més)
forestormes | Hi ha 10 ressenyes més | Mar 21, 2023 |



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