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The Long Day Wanes: A Malayan Trilogy (The Norton Library) Paperback – February 17, 1993

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Product Details

  • Series: The Norton Library
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue edition (February 17, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393309436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393309430
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anthony Burgess (1917–1993) is the author of many works, including A Clockwork Orange, The Wanting Seed, Nothing Like the Sun, Honey for the Bears, The Long Day Wanes, The Doctor Is Sick, and ReJoyce.

More About the Author

Anthony Burgess (25th February 1917-22nd November 1993) was one of the UK's leading academics and most respected literary figures. A prolific author, during his writing career Burgess found success as a novelist, critic, composer, playwright, screenwriter, travel writer, essayist, poet and librettist, as well as working as a translator, broadcaster, linguist and educationalist. His fiction also includes NOTHING LIKE THE SUN, a recreation of Shakespeare's love-life, but he is perhaps most famous for the complex and controversial novel A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, exploring the nature of evil. Born in Manchester, he spent time living in Southeast Asia, the USA and Mediterranean Europe as well as in England, until his death in 1993.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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The characters were "real" people with "real" foibles.
Dick Johnson
All and all a great read for anyone and everyone, a book that is as intricate as it is educational.
His debts to Joyce and Shakespeare unite in his own unique style.
Jason Drew

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By AliMcJ on December 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
This ranks as one of the funniest books ever written, while being at the same time a social history of Malaysia, or Malaya as it was known under British Rule. The first book of the trilogy deals with the last days of British colonialism (hence the title "The Long Day Wanes") through the misadventures of a remittance man named Nabby Adams, a civil servant, his wife, household staff, and local government characters. The second novel follows the civil servant and his failing marriage through the guerilla years in the struggling nation, and the third is The Coming of the Americans. These three events have been a sort of template for late 20th century global affairs. It's a tight trilogy that reflects historical and social changes through its characters in the satirical literary slapstick characteristic of Burgess at his best. If you've never read Burgess, this is the place to start. It will bring you an appreciation of "where he's coming from," literally: it is based upon his experiences as a British Civil Servant in the waning days of the Empire (upon which the sun set 30 June 1997 with the cession of Hong Kong to Red China). This review was originally published in June 1997 and with some site changes, my name got lost and Amazon was unable to transfer the review with my name attached, so this is a reprint of that earlier one.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jason Drew on October 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
One thing I have always admired about Anthony Burgess's novels is the compassion that he quietly conveys for his characters. They are all flawed: imperfect archetypes, reluctant saviours, apologetic swearers, gin mixed in with the orange crush. And we recognize ourselves in them all for this essential humanity, their endless struggle or acquiescence, for or against their unlikely fates. Burgess's humour is rueful and sharp: wistful disappointment and calm despair are the backdrop for his characters' heroic protests or desperate affairs.

He also writes with a playfulness and intelligence that shines through every page. His sentences are as angular and memorable as his characters. His debts to Joyce and Shakespeare unite in his own unique style.

The Long Day Wanes shows much of Burgess at his best, his setting and characters memorable vehicles for their fates and larger themes. The setting in Malaya is a world apart: inner struggles against human desires, social forces against cultural divides. While writing of a world that fast disappears, he tells us a story old as the Malayan jungle.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By featherstonhaugh on January 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Burgess has achieved something remarkable in this trilogy in penetrating the mentality of the Chinese, Indian, Malays, Eurasians and British colonialists who inhabited the pre-independence Malaya of the 1950's. He cleverly dissects his vast repertoire of characters, from the lowest Tamil night watchman, Malay driver or Chinese towkay, to the highest Malay prince or most gin-soddened British official, in the most unpatronising way with bucket loads of humour and insight.
Being British and having lived in Malaysia and Singapore for the past eleven years, I can deeply identify with the (alas, now imaginary) world of these three closely interlinked novels. It's a colourful cosmos which has sadly been erased forever by the forces of globalisation (that is to say, 'Americanisation'). In a sense, the erosion of the traditional ways and the coming of change and modernisation (not necessarily for the better) is one of the themes of the trilogy and a preface to the modern life of Southeast Asia, a place more of computers, stock markets and western style conspicuous consumption than a place of shady kedai, gin stengahs on cool verandahs or mysterious Wayang Kulit shows.
As a postscript to the Malayan trilogy, you should also refer to the second volume of Burgess's autobiography in which he relates a visit, many years later, to this much-changed locale and is accosted in the northern Malaysian town of Ipoh by a young Chinese girl selling him not her body, but a western brand of evangelical Christianity.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "umd_cyberpunk" on January 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Anthony Burgess' brilliant satire and mastery of linguistics become apparent and used at their best in this trilogy about the final days of British imperialism.
Burgess' use of social satire contextually set in the lives of a few warped individuals (as he did in Honey for the Bears, A Clockwork Orange, the Enderby tales and others)returns in this edgy but brilliant and amussing trilogy relating the end of Bristish imperialism on the Asian continent.
He runs with themes such as the predjudice of the white Europeans, and the reverse predjudice of the people that they had formally ruled over. These stories talk about a civil servent working as a teacher and trying to make a change in the lives of people who are already changing their own world as they give the boot the their one time British task masters.
The teacher turned administrator, Victor Crabbe, tries desperately to keep control of his own eroding life as he sees the rotting of the systems created by the British many years before. His own fall is much like the one that the British empire took, and like the workers in the empire: he tries to help and reform things after it is too late for him to cause any positive effect.
Crabbe wants to unite the different Asian ethnic groups that are taking control of Malaya (Malaysia now), but the only thing that they can agree upon is their hatred for the white man and also their hatred of each other.
This tale is edgy and gritty but at the same time, Burgess' wonderful wit and humor come shining through. Tragic and sad one minute, and absurdly funny the next, the one thing that "The Long Day Wanes" always has is brilliance and insight into the human condition.
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