Saturday, August 14, 2004

Hornblower and The Hotspur ~ C.S. Forester

July 29, 2003

I didn't enjoy the plot as much as that of LH , but just the intricacies of Horatio's character is enough to keep me reading. Forester contrasts his nautical expertise and skill with his anxiety and insecurity. He proves his worth in his first command of a ship, but he still gets seasick in rough weather. He can save Ireland from invasion, but at home he's harassed by his badgering mother-in-law and needy wife. He's a bit of an actor, really, desperately playing a part to Maria and keeping up appearances with Bush. I wish Forester would give us more background on him; we don't know much about Horatio's life before he joins the Navy. Why did he join the Navy so late anyway, at 17, when most boys signed up at 12? You wouldn't know the guy has parents; he only writes one letter to his father, in Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (and our first glimpse at his knack for bullshitting, a skill that comes in handy later when he feels obligated to send love-letters home to Maria). Did he ever have any siblings? And at some point he must have had a mother. I suppose you could argue that Horblower's past doesn't matter; this is swashbuckling Boy's Own stuff, pure plot. But Horatio's a great character, and I want to know how he got to be the way he is. I'm hoping Forester will reveal more in the later books, but I'm not holding my breath.


At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You get a lot of tantalizing hints and tidbits, not so much in-depth background stuff.



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