Monday, 26 September 2011

The Birthday Boys

Title: The Birthday Boys

Author: Beryl Bainbridge

Number of pages: 181

Started: 21 September 2011

Finished: 26 September 2011

Opening words:

To follow

Plot summary:

A fictional account of Captain Robert Scott's 1910 expedition to Antarctica told from the perspectives of five men on the voyage: Scott; Petty Officer Taff Evans; ship's medic Dr Edward Wilson; Lieutenant Henry Bowers; and Captain Lawrence Oates

What I thought:

This is the first Beryl Bainbridge book that I have read and it tells of the fatal British attempt by Captain Scott and others to be the first to the South Pole.

I thought it was an interesting idea for a book – both in terms of the subject matter and each of the five chapters being written from the perspective of different members of the party. I also thought it was right that the last chapter was not Captain Scott’s as that would have seemed too much of a cliché.

That said, I found it difficult to get into this book. I knew the fate of the expedition, but somehow this didn’t help me to empathise with them or fear for their future. It was a good idea for a book, but, for me, it was not one that I found to be a compelling read.

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