I read only two volumes in this series One was Kai Lung s Golden Hours, and this was t other I don t remember whether I knew there were any others, but I do know I wasn t so enchanted by the poetic language that I cared to seek out any other volumes. The Third In Bramah S Kai Lung Series Of Fantasy Novels Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat, Like The Others In The Series Consists Of Thinly Connected Stories Related By Kai Lung, Concerning The Adventures Of The Storyteller And His Lady Love Hwa Mei Versus The Wicked But Ever Smooth Mandarin Shan Tien And His Despicable Accomplice Ming Shu Kai Lung S Adventures Are Related With Humor And Irony, His Shrewdness And Wisdom Conveyed In Euphemisms, Paradoxes And Parables Bramah S Droll Writing Style Went A Long Way Toward Making The Kai Lung Series So Popular Enjoyable vision of an imaginary and idealistic, if somewhat stereotypical, view of Old China during its legendary days The style makes for slow reading at times, but got to love some of the proverbs the author created for the book.especially the ones concerning dragons. This enfeebled reader has devoted Many Hours to this unusual tale from a writer of a personal and cultivated obscurity so considerable that one ponders the extent to which he avoids an ignominious anonymity Mr Bramah s choice of a style of such refined obliquity doubtless explains the labour that he has exacted from this inoffensive pursuer of almost forgotten writers Be it noted, no coercive application of the seventy five recognized ways of inflicting pain were exercised in my arrival at the long anticipated termination of this extended tale of tales Nevertheless, it was not without difficulty that my clouded intellect stumbled with the circumlocutious grammar and enigmatical expression with which Mr Bramah conducted his peerless sentences I often lacked the oyster knife of wit with which to force open the shell of many a fine wrought and significant apophthegm, thus finding myself unable to assess the aptness of Mr Bramah s pearl like laconisms, and, shamefully, in my lack of intellectual fitness, decrying the worthiness of one whose reputation is indubitable testimony to the manifest superiority of his authorial achievement How is it, therefore, that Mr Bramah was able to sustain my interest in a tale of such labyrinthine circuitousness Often has it been remarked by the weary traveller on arriving at a wayside hostelry that though the road has been long and pulverulent, it has, nonetheless, not been without points of interest The ignoble innkeeper, ever watchful for an opportunity to avail himself of the contents of the frugal pockets of his sojourner, may casually observe that all highways that lead windingly away from his humble place of business are barren, devoid of remark worthy features, and without reward But pusillanimous would he be of soul who could accept the word of a man whose wine is as weak as his beard is without strength, and who would pass by the challenge of unpromised but not impossible riches that may lie ahead.And thus it was that I continued on my way over several months.As the esteemed person who has generously made their way along the winding river of this humbly submitted review will by now have realised, I found great pleasure was to be derived, albeit in a series of tapas like servings, from Mr Bramah s style He is a master of irony, oftentimes expressed with a periphrastic subtlety that works sinuously to penetrate the understanding with slow pleasure Simultaneously, I was delighted by what I took to be Mr Bramah laughing at himself, inviting his reader to rejoice with him in the ultimate pointlessness of his verbal perambulations.His tale is simple enough it is one in which the storyteller, Kai Lung, sets out to rescue his beloved Hwa mei from the over inflated brigand, Ming shu This he achieves after an arduous journey through the impoverished landscapes so uncompassionately razed by the self aggrandising Ming shu To support his progress, he humbly supplicates a few cash or other means of support from those he encounters on his way in return for his narrating a tale the appositeness of which to his own situation was, for me, never clear and certainly long lost by each one s end Kai Lung achieves his beloved s rescue in Part I, and Parts II and III recount later incidents in the happy, reconstituted domesticity of the contented couple in whichtales are elaborated.I cannot say, therefore, that I found it impossible to enjoy Mr Bramah s writing, but I do not think I will be searching soon for another of his Kai Lung novels I understand, however, from Peter Gaspar, that Max Carrados, Mr Bramah s blind detective, is a character of sufficient individuality to merit investigation This paragraph, from , caught my eye A personal interest is that Max Carrados, like Bramah and me, was an avid numismatist, a student and collector of coins More than a half dozen of the Carrados stories feature coins The author was on solid ground Bramah s 1929 book on the copper coinage of England was the first to call attention to the significance of small variations in design as clues to the methods used to make the dies from which modern coins are struck As in his short stories Bramah made a few words go a very long way, so that despite the lack of illustrations one can immediately recognize a specific coin described by Bramah What sounds like a dry subject was enlivened by the wit that sparkles throughout Bramah s work One of the Carrados stories, The Mystery of the Vanished Petition Crown describes an auction scam that may have been the model for a famous real life 1970 s coin theft from Glendining s in London Another employs Carrados knowledge of counterfeiting techniques and coin pedigrees as plot elements Bramah is one of only a handful of fiction writers with sufficient knowledge to use numismatics to entertain rather than bore readers Mr Bramah is certainly worth a gander, especially if you can find a nice 1941 Penguin edition as I did at Border Bookshop in Tod. Mr Bramah s Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat is brilliant It is entertaining It is brilliantly entertaining, and I think that Mr B intended this The key to the entertainment is the writing in an artificial high style This is not a style of the thee and thou variety, but a style like a ship cresting sparkling waves or colorful clouds in a fair wind.Kai Lung, the hero, is a professional storyteller in a totally fictional ancient China The frame story is about Kai Lung s journey to search for his abducted wife In the course of the journey, Kai Lung is compelled by dire necessity to tell stories in order to deter others, to persuade them, to encourage them, to win them over, or simply to get a meal The plot of Kai Lung s story and the plots of the stories he tells are complex and satisfying What is particularly delightful is Mr B s style It carries the narrative along in the invented environment I suspect that Mr B created the formal style of speaking that both conceals and reveals in an immensely humorous way This is especially so in the conversations between persons who are openly hostile to one another or likely to become so The rule in the book s world is that even base persons must be polite and elegant and delicately indirect To add to this wonder, Mr B has invented proverbs, aphorisms, and quotes from invented scholarly works They give conversation a real lift or elan when they are dropped in like raisins into a cake Two of my favorites The lizard who aspired to become a dragon burst at the moment of attainment about the overweening nature of another, as I recall and The road to Tang is long, but it does not go everywhere How can anybody resist these fireworks, this good humor Really this book is an amazing show.Lawrence says check it out