Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Like Moby Dick and Treasure Island, this is one of those books where everyone thinks they know the story, but almost no one actually reads the book. I started it because it had relevance to a game I'm working on, and hey, who doesn't like Mark Twain. I was truly surprised at what this book was -- I always assumed it would be a clever adventure story, with touching and meaningful moments like say, Huck Finn. But, it's not like that at all. It spends most of its time ranting against classism and inequality. Occasionally it gets around to some fun and clever action, but that stuff is kind of spread out. The ending is surprisingly grim (spoilers are fair for any book over a hundred years old), with our hero constructing an electric fence that kills thousands of knights, creating a situation where he is trapped by walls of corpses, which is perhaps a metaphor? There were some very memorable moments in this -- the eclipse, blowing up Merlin's tower, using a lasso during a joust, "Hello Central", but in the end, I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It left me with kind of a dark feeling -- like Twain was working through something that he wasn't able to resolve. Definitely not a book for kids.

1 comment:

  1. I read it as a 12-year old, and rather liked it. It was not easy to read, but I liked the action and the irony of the situation. The grim aspects were totally lost on me, much like the sensual aspects of Fazetta's drawings in Ralph Bakshi's Fire & Ice, which I saw when I was 10. I watched it again today, and was surprised to see the naked skin of a barely clad princess throughout most of the movie. How differently we see the world as kids!