Tuesday, August 25, 2009

223. Rob Roy – Sir Walter Scott

June 2009
History: The book was published in 1817, and it was published anonymously and came in three volumes. The novel is a brutally realistic depiction of the social conditions in Highland and Lowland Scotland in the early 18th Century. The Highlanders were compared with American Indians, as regards to their primitive, isolated lifestyle. Rob Roy was written at a time when many Europeans started regretting colonialism and imperialism as reports circulated back of horrendous atrocities towards primitive cultures. It was also a time when debates raged about the slave trade, the British occupation of India, and, more relevant to the novel, the disastrous effect of the Highland Clearances. Many writers would praise pre-commercial cultures and their defiance against the corrupting influence of commercial imperialism and "civilized" values.
Plot: Frank Osbaldistone, the narrator, quarrels with his father and is sent to stay with an uncle, Sir Hildebrand Osbaldistone, in Northumberland. Frank falls in love with Diana Vernon, Sir Hildebrand's niece, whose father has been forced to go into hiding because of his Jacobite sympathies. Frank's cousin, Rashleigh, steals important documents vital to the honour of Frank's father, William, and Frank pursues Rashleigh to Scotland. There he meets Robert Roy MacGregor, an associate of Diana's father. When Rashleigh attacks Frank, Rob Roy kills Rashleigh. All Sir Hildebrand's other sons are killed in the Jacobite rebellion, and Frank inherits Sir Hildebrand's property and marries Diana.
Review: I listened to this book, and I loved the narrator, Frederick Davidson. However, I was unable to understand most of it. In fact, I couldn’t finish it. I thoroughly enjoyed the voices of the narrator and his pleasant accents, but because I couldn’t understand the story, my mind would wander. This is the third book on the list I couldn’t finish: Emma by Jane Austen, Nostromo by Joseph Conrad were the first two.
Opening Line: “You have requested me, my dear friend, to bestow some of that leisure with which Providence has blessed the decline of my life in registering the hazards and difficulties which attended its commencement.”
Closing Line: “Old Andrew Fairservice used to say that “There were many things ower bad for blessing, and ower good for banning, like Rob Roy.”
Quotes: “ My foot is on my native heath, and my name is MacGregor”
Rating: Horrible but loved the narrator, Frederick Davidson.

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