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The Wallet of Kai Lung Paperback – January 31, 2003


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The Wallet of Kai Lung + Kai Lung Raises His Voice + Kai Lung's Golden Hours
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Wildside Press (January 31, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587152088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587152085
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,047,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ernest Bramah (20 March 1868 - 27 June 1942), whose real name was Ernest Bramah Smith, was an English author. In total Bramah published 21 books and numerous short stories and features. His humorous works were ranked with Jerome K Jerome, and W.W. Jacobs; his detective stories with Conan Doyle; his politico-science fiction with H.G. Wells and his supernatural stories with Algernon Blackwood. George Orwell acknowledged that Bramah s book What Might Have Been influenced his Nineteen Eighty-Four. He created the characters Kai Lung and Max Carrados. Bramah was a recluse who refused to allow his public even the slightest glimpse of his private life --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Well written, enjoyable, and chock-full of subtle moral lessons.
Eve R. Bieber
Ernest Bramah is , in my humble opinion, one of the greatest weavers of tales ever.
James A. Root
I'm a big fan of Kai Lung, but this installment disappointed me rather.
Caleb Hanson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By The Sanity Inspector on March 25, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you're here for the first time, then you have my sympathy on learning that this book is out of print. It's time for a re-issue--are you listening, Penguin Classics?
These stories are about a wandering storyteller, who gets into various jams and escapes with the aid of his silver tongue and an admiring coquette. For someone who apparently never visited China, and never even met that many Chinese, the verisimilitude Bramah achieves is amazing. This is an English child's storybook China, yet the stories themselves richly delight adults, too. The scene-setting is wonderful, but the real gem is the dialogue. Suave, sly, elliptically ceremonious, mock-abnegating--but you really have to read it to catch the flavor. Hillaire Belloc's introduction is on the money about how deceptively easy this style looks, and it is a great pity that more people do not have the opportunity to enjoy this and the other Kai Lung works today.
May your sleeves be filled with a sufficiency of taels, and may hungry and homeless ghosts find solace at your house-pole, and preserve your family tablets from the mischiefs of the lesser orders of the beings of the Upper Air...
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By David C. Johnson on February 20, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bramah sure can spin a phrase. The book is a collection of stories told by Kai Lung, and as such is excellent. You are transported back into this fictional China, where introductions can take hours as the two people flatter each other & humble themselves endlessly. The stories are very amusing, but be forewarned; the language takes some time to read through & comprehend. Not a book to breeze through (but oh so rewarding when you do read it!)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Charles Blakemore (cnb2@acsu.buffalo.edu) on March 25, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Delightful collection of tales and fables by one of the most wrongfully-neglected English writers of the 20th Century. The itinerant storyteller Kai Lung, with the assistance of the delectable Hwa Mei, must circumvent the evil machinations of Ming Shu by providing a tale suited to each arising occasion. I first read this book in the early 70's, when Lin Carter reissued it in his Ballantine Fantasy series, and fell in love with its sparkling wit and originality. It is a source of considerable perplexity (to me, anyway) and some chagrin that Bramah continues in obscurity--as a writer, he is non-pareil. Someone must reissue these things (4 in the series, I believe). Fortunately, any good library will retain copies, but once you have read them you'll want copies of your own (to sleep with, under your pillow). Sweet dreams.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By B. Wilson on May 25, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love the over-the-top pseudo-chinese-classical style of Bramah's writing: "It is indeed unlikely that you could condescend to stop and listen to the foolish words of such an insignificant and altogether deformed person as myself. Nevertheless, if you could retard your elegant footsteps for a few moments, this exeedingly unprepossessing individual will endeavor to entertain you."

If you don't like that style, you'll find it difficult to get past it to the entertaining and humorous stories of Kai Lung.

The formatting could use some improvement (uneven margins on my iPhone, double line breaks for paragraphs), but it's not too bad.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By BookBug on March 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The earlier reviewers of this book have said everything there is to say (and much better than I could have said it). I am the lucky possessor of a collected volume of all the Kai Lung stories. After having read Kai Lung's golden hours and the other books in the series, there was just one thing felt : a sense of profound sadness that there isn't more of Kai Lung to read!
I am adding this in 2003. I was wrong in writing that I have the entire collection of Kai Lung books. I learnt subsequently that there are a few missed out from my collection. For the records here is the complete list of the published Kai Lung stories :
The Wallet of Kai Lung
Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat
Kai Lung's Golden Hours
The Moon of Much Gladness (novel)
Kai Lung Beneath the Mulberry Tree
Kai Lung: Six
The last apparently contains six Kai Lung stories previously published ONLY in Punch magazine; the print edition for this book ran into a mere 250 copies and was published by Tacoma: The Non-Profit Press, 1974.
I have only the following :
The Wallet of Kai Lung
Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat
Kai Lung's Golden Hours
Kai Lung Beneath the Mulberry Tree
Kai Lung: Six, unfortunately was published in a very limited number of copies and I am unable to acquire one at an affordable price. The Moon of Much Gladness I hope to get soon.
My thanks to one of the persons who read this review and through his queries alerted me to the fact that - as I discovered later -my Kai Lung collection was not complete.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 1998
Format: Paperback
The Kai Lung books have a nice dry humour, a beautifully way of turning a phrase and a concoluted way of using the english language. It is a China that never was but really ought to have been.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By hibbens@calva.com on October 9, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the series of Kai Lung stories, written in a delightfully humorous style by Ernest Bramah. These pretend to be translations of an imagined classical Chinese literary style, and follow the fortunes of Kai Lung, a wandering storyteller who is able to recall a tale pertinent to any situation he finds himself in. My edition was published in Hong Kong by Oxford University Press in 1985; others in the series include Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat and Kai Lung Beneath the Mulberry Tree, all equally enjoyable. I never tire of re-reading any of them; regrettably, Bramah's works are out of print and hard to find.
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