March 2nd, 2011

The Ebb Tide: R.L. Stevenson

Three beach bums are given charge of a ship which- for very good reasons- no-one-else wants;  they steal her, drink most of the cargo and wind up on a magical island presided over by a gun toting gentleman missionary.  Funny, insanely exciting, psychologically penetrating  (Stevenson is awfully good at the fluidity of human relationships)- with echoes of The Tempest and a final show-down between a man with a flask of vitriol and a man with a Winchester rifle that is worthy of Sergio Leone:  what more can you want from a book? You liked Long John Silver, you'll love the appalling Attwater!  Why this masterpiece by a classic author has been sidelined is beyond me. It's terrific.