If I have a complaint about my new nook e-reader, it is that it makes it way too easy to buy books. I can’t even remember what I was initially looking for, but the search results on this particular day popped up The Fatal Englishman – Three Short Lives by Sebastian Faulks, and when I read the synopsis, all I had to do was tap “buy” and *poof* the book appeared on my device.
Sebastian Faulks is primarily a novelist, but in this work of non-fiction he traces the lives of three Englishmen of different eras:
- Christopher Wood, a painter living in 1920s Paris
- Richard Hillary, a WWII pilot severely injured on a mission
- Jeremy Wolfenden, a journalist in the 50s and 60s based for a time in Moscow
The three men were similar in ways: they had close relationships with their mothers, somewhat distant ones with their fathers; they were deemed very talented at their chosen vocation; and they all died much too young.
Unfortunately, another thing that they had in common for me was that none of them seemed particularly likeable; I enjoyed reading about the times in which these men lived, but I became uninterested in their personal stories. And while I was expecting a story of three men who died somewhat anonymously, all three were publicly recognized in their lifetimes and I didn’t see the reasoning that Faulks used to choose these men for his subjects.
It wasn’t a bad book, but it is more interesting for its historic accounts than for its biography. And it taught me a lesson: put the book on your eWish List and think about it before making the decision to purchase.