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The Way of the Kings (Hesperus Modern Voices) Paperback – June 1, 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

One of Malraux’s most exotic novels, The Way of Kings is a perfect companion to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

From the Publisher

Since its U.S. launch in 2003, Hesperus Press has enjoyed a growing reputation for its inspired selection of short classic works. Written by illustrious authors, and often unjustly neglected or simply little known in the English-speaking world, these works have been made accessible via a completely fresh editorial approach and new translations. Now, in addition to the Hesperus Classics, Hesperus Press is introducing a new series: Modern Voices. Drawing from the very best of 20th-century literature, Modern Voices will retain the exceptional quality of the Hesperus Classics, with a new series look that reflects the more modern nature of the list. Among the first authors will be Carlo Levi, Katherine Mansfield, and Graham Greene, and Hesperus has already secured prominent contemporary writers like Anita Desai, William Boyd, and Colum McCann to introduce the books—again retaining one of the key successes of the Hesperus Classics. Finally,! 2005 heralds the launch of the Hesperus Contemporary series, opening with The Nightingale Papers, the fiction debut of prize-winning biographer David Nokes.
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Product Details

  • Series: Hesperus Modern Voices
  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Hesperus Press; Tra edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843914069
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843914068
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #886,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Andre Malraux's THE WAY OF THE KINGS provides an excellent piece of classic literature in telling of two who decide to embark on an expedition into Cambodia. A young Frenchman seeks adventure and fortune while the veteran Dutch explorer seeks to recapture his former pride: together they face danger and uncommon revelations.
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Malraux shoehorns his own misadventures into HEART OF DARKNESS with mixed results. In the end Mr. Grabot's fate is arguably more horrible than that of Mr. Kurtz. But even in this short work Malraux's philosophical posturing, which proved fatal to the dreadful MAN'S HOPE, is no match for Conrad's philosophical gravitas. Art versus life: Malraux's wife Clara Goldschmidt, who accompanied him on his Cambodia expedition along with Louis Chevasson, was enraged that she wasn't a character in the novel. Andre's reply: "I only married you for your money!" Guy was a sweetheart.
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Format: Paperback
... have now become a standard metaphor for the linkage and causality of distant events to a current and dramatic one, like a tornado in Kansas, to complete the metaphor. Un papillon en France lead me to Patrick Deville's excellent book on Alexandre Yersin Peste et Cholera, which led to Deville's Kampuchea (French Edition). In the latter work Deville writes, in part, of Andre Malraux's theft of ancient temple artifacts in Cambodia, which resulted in a three-year prison sentence (subsequently reduced due to the efforts of his literary friends). A week later, and I am in a used book store in Santa Fe, and prominently displayed was this book...

... and those butterfly wings also flapped on a different vector, from once being in a place where you associated Cambodia with the place where the people came that might harm you, to being in Musee Guimet in Paris, in 1971, looking at all the stone Khmer heads, and having my companion tell me how she had walked along the "way of the kings" at Angkor Wat, and observed all the headless statues, which I would finally be able to do 22 years later. And the nexus of those two vectors made the book leap off the table into my hands.

This was one of Malraux's earlier works, published in 1930. More than half the novel is largely autobiographical, and involves a young Frenchman, Claude Vannec, literally shipping out for the Far East in the early 1920's, in order to make his fortune, by stealing archeological artifacts and selling them for profit (as opposed to hauling them back for "conservation" purposes and storing them at a national museum.
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Format: Paperback
The only reason to read this book is to complete your tour through Malraux. Just look at the author photo and you'll know all about the sort of bombastic, turgid existential nonsense that fills its pages.
How the author of the foreword could describe the novel as a "fierce critique of colonialism" is truly baffling. The southeast asians are so thoroughly dehumanized that most readers will think of Conrad. Malraux, though, has nothing like Conrad's control of narrative.
One thought: The novel concludes with a kind of extended death scene, a meditation on last moments more characteristic, ironically, of the cultural wisdom found in the traditions that its heroes are vandalizing.
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