Dependent Origination

Final Remarks on Aubrey/Maturin Series

Posted on: December 25, 2012

We watched Master and Commander starring Russel Crowe back in 2003, and in a real movie theatre. I remember being impressed by the seemingly strange but touching friendship between the captain and the ship surgeon and marking to myself that I would like to read the books behind the movie one day.

Fast forward to 2011. I randomly accepted a friend request on goodreads from some stranger, since he appears to be an avid reader too. At the time he was pushing himself through the series and marked nearly every book five stars. I remembered what I felt after the movie and, without any planning, picked up Master and Commander and Post Captain from the library before getting on a trip to Mexico.

It was a bit harsh read at first, because of the sea jargons. I remember I was lying on the bed and reading and thinking I couldn’t figure out what they are talking about why they are doing things. But the book has enough potential; by the time we returned from Mexico, I was happily moving onto Post Captain. What a book! The book ends with a toast to Sophie, which made me feel all the strong feelings going through the characters and their times. 荡气回肠, probably the only descriptive word for the ending. Then the rest is history.

Richard Snow writes better than I can about why the series are special. “the best historical novels ever written. On every page Mr. O’Brian reminds us with subtle artistry of the most important of all historical lessons: that times change but people don’t, that the griefs and follies and victories of the men and women who were here before us are in fact the maps of our own lives.”

I feel so very lucky that I came across and finished the series, got to know such a talented writer, and fell in love with Aubrey and Maturin. If you happen to read about this, I hope one day the same thing can happen to you too 🙂


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