Category Archives: Classics

The Scarlet Pimpernal

We seek him here;

we seek him there;

those Frenchies seek him everywhere;

is he in heaven? Is he in hell?

that demmed elusive Pimpernal!

Reading The Scarlet Pimpernal again after so many years gave me the same thrill I experienced when I first read it as  an edited version in my tenth standard non-detailed class. And what a joyous experience it was!

The novel opened many doors for me. It made me decide to take up French as my second language in my High school. It created a desire in me to visit France. And the feeling of a ha when I read the exploits of the elusive Pimpernal.

Many of you would not have heard about Baroness Emmuska Orczy, the author of The Scarlet Pimpernal (or have you?) The rest may wikipedia her and get the details. This is a fine book and a compelling read which makes you yearn for more such adventures. The novel has the French revolution as its backdrop and how a band of daring Englishmen under the leadership of a a cunning plotter known as the scarlet pimpernel risk their necks in saving the aristocrats just for fun.

The original scarlet pimpernal, a small English wayward flower, after which the daring plotter takes his name:

It also has a fine love story or two in its backdrop and a devilish, equally cunning agent of the French roiyalists by name of Chauvelin.  His character is a perfect set to the plot and makes you read with excitement and with unhurried leisureness.

Do read and enjoy the book. It will be in your memory for a long time.

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The Mayor of Casterbridge

This is one book which had been in waiting for a long time in my shelf. I am glad that I read it at least now.

I have always loved English in my school days and took a fancy to read some extra on my own, outside of what we had in our syllabus. The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy was bought in a book shop in Pondichery in my college days. The first time I started reading, I got bored by the language-Victorian in nature- and closed it, shelved up.

A nostalgic feeling recently made me dig it up and boy, I enjoyed each and every page! What a fine and interesting way of telling a story!  A simple story of a wrongful act and retribution is turned into an interesting tale, transporting me to the very times where the story is based.

As each and every character gets introduced from Michael Henchard to Susan to Li’l Elizabeth Jane to Donald Farfare to the sailor Newson, it is a travel back in time to old England with no disturbance of email, phone, ipad…hmm..refreshing. To be taken into consideration that such masterpieces are not produced nowadays.

The story very cleverly educates the reader on the dangerous effects of spirits when consumed in excess and the amount of suffering that we have to go in lowering our guard for a few minutes. As Henchard suffers, so does every alcoholic reading this, who has lost something on behalf of his habit.

Every page is a travel back in time, not to miss the wonderful language that the characters use-the old Victorian English.

Really, you will love this classic. I can vouch for it.

Will be back with more classics. Till then, start reading!

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