The Fatal Englishman – Three Short Lives by Sebastian Faulks

  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.

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