Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Books: Hunters In The Dark By Lawrence Osborne

(Drivebycuriosity) - Exploring unknown and exotic countries is a pleasure & an adventure. It could be done at home by reading just the right book. The novel "Hunters in the Dark" by Lawrence Osborne is one of these books - and one of the best novels I have read in the recent years (amazon).

"Hunters" takes the reader onto a journey into the dark sides of South East Asia. The plot follows Robert, a young Englishman and gambler "who had the aura of poverty about him". He visits Cambodia, described as a "tough Paradise", an exotic & dangerous country with a still fresh sinister history.  Robert is a somewhat naive and innocent guy and driven by curiosity & by chance - a character which reminds me faintly of the German fairy tale "Hans im Glück (Hans in Luck)". His purity & carelessness lead him onto quicksand (this is a spoiler free blog). It`s partly a travel novel, a crime story, a romance and maybe a fairy tale.

I cared about "Robert", even that I find his naivety challenging. Osborne combines the sharp psychological & analytical skills of Vladimir Nabokov with Joseph Conrad`s intense descriptions of tropical adventures. The author is a great stylist and immerses the reader deep into the steamy & lush environment. I indulged into sentences like  "the long puddles brightened for a moment then grew dim, and the electricity which rippled through the air drew the eye upward to the slow motion mushroom cloud and its impending crisis, which would not arrive for hours, maybe not even till the next day". I almost could sense what the characters saw, felt, & tasted. Osborne also describes in an amusing way how an undiscerning Westerner flounders with an unknown culture & the Cambodian way of thinking.

I think I will reread the novel soon.

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