One-Fifth Pink

Anticipating the latest Flashman novel is always a delight, and then there are the reviews to look forward to. The best of these are humorless, priggish, and hortatory, and read as if they had been composed by the writer with his left hand, while he was holding his nose with the right one. For bookmongers of this sort, the fictional Sir Harry Flashman, VC—coward, cad, ravisher of willing women, and genial oppressor of all people of color—is so complete a representation of the White Heterosexual Male Monster in action as to have attained reality and become one of the documented bugaboos of the unredeemed historical past. Their response suggests that, in Sir Harry, George MacDonald Fraser has created a stereotypical anti-hero; paradoxically, the opposite is really true. Fraser's genius is expressed in his ability to compound two stereotypes—that of the Victorian hero and of the Marxian exploiter and butcher—with such skill and imagination that the result is a fictional character of parts, alive and at large in a world of multiple dimensions. Let those who have ears, hear; those who have eyes, see!

Flashman and the Mountain of Light is the ninth volume developed from a series of manuscript packets, wrapped in oilskins and discovered more than twenty years ago in a saleroom in the English Midlands, that comprise the memoirs of the Victorian toast who candidly reveals himself to have been as well the...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here