Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Classic.....in Name Only

The Cabman's Story:  The Mysteries of a London Growler by Arthur Conan Doyle

Classic Short Story

This is a classic, but would it still get published today, on its own, if not for the famous author's name?  Most assuredly not.  Why is this story read today?  If the answer is only because of the name of the author, that's not enough of a reason. 

It's an extremely short story (8 pages) of a very long-winded narrator.  Like many of Doyle's non-Sherlock stories, this one focuses on the mundane situation of a normal family.  First, you have to know what a 'growler' is--a Victorian version of a cabbie.  And, based on this story, cabbies haven't changed much!  A family goes on vacation to the countryside for an extended time.  There are so many people, and so much luggage, that the father has to ride up front with the cabbie.  The cabman relates several tales of things that have happened to him over the years and things he has seen. I'm sure today's cabmen could relate.  My favorite story (and only really memorable one) is the tale of a burglar who not only hid in the taxi after a robbery, but also used it as his escape vehicle.

I just didn't like this, even as a free read and even though it was a short read.  I just wanted to rush and finish it.  It just wasn't as good as some other short stories by Doyle and I felt like a teenager who had been assigned this as a homework assignment--not a pleasant feeling. 

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