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The Most Dangerous Game Paperback – July 13, 2011
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About the Author
Richard Edward Connell Jr. (October 17, 1893 – November 22, 1949) was an American author and journalist, probably best remembered for his short story "The Most Dangerous Game". Connell was one of the most popular American short story writers of his time and his stories appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and Collier's Weekly. He had equal success as a journalist and screenwriter and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1942 for best original story for the film Meet John Doe.
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I can imagine that for readers in 1924 it was exciting for youth but for"doughboys" it was probably a sluggish read of implausabilities.
The concept of a wealthy Russian Hunter tracking and killing dangerous big game on a small tropical island with a puny .22cal. rifle is enough to ruin the story. Every farm kid had a .22 rifle and killed hundreds of small varmints, maybe even a coyote with a lucky shot. Every adult reading this story would laugh at the the idea that a Hunter could bring down a big cat with a small calibre rifle. Once wounded with a small round the animal would most likely charge the Hunter and maim or
Back in the Vietnam War era I experienced Air Crew Survival training in the jungles of the Philippines. After a short week of classroom training we were given the same equipment we would have if we were shot down in a jungle and then dropped off by helicopters at various locations and given map coordinates where we would be picked up in a week if we were still alive. All alone.. Was that plant edible or would it kill me? Was that a poisonous snake or harmless? How many Halzone tablets will purify that pond water? Am I really hungry enough to shoot that monkey and roast him? (Yes I was).
It was one of the hairiest weeks in my tour. It made reading this book like reading Babar at the Circus to my kids. Anyone who has been thru SERE training and comes across this book will think that it is a story about a Lunatic who throws a picnic for a fellow who falls off a boat and washes up on his island.
Classic ? No way! Is the Count of Monte Cristo..a classic? You bet!
This is clearly a short-story that has fallen out of the mainstream as of late and from my understanding it is not on many 'required reading' lists for students anymore as it used to be. I spoke to two different English teachers that I know, and both had not just never read it, but also never heard of it. I guess stranger things can happen.
Like falling out of a boat, swimming to shore and meeting a socially isolated ego-maniacal psychopath. But was Zaroff really a psychopath in modern terms, as we've seen such gruesome representations such as Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Dexter Morgan in modern fiction? I can imagine the impact this story had when it first came out as it's very blunt and very candid. But with the profligation of murder in true-crime books and on television on film, this seems quite tame and even a bit stunted in comparison. I was stunned discovering that this story is only 48 pages. It's reputation alone would lead you to believe that it should be several hundred.
But as a reader, you have to approach it from the perspective of the framework of and when it was written.The philosophical underpinnings are what's really the meat of the matter. Hunting men. Being trapped. Ethics -- especially when they're most inconvenient. It's like a version of the film Predator, but without all the bullets and ugly space hunters. There's a chase for survival and a turn of events that are unseen. There are many very cinematic moments in such a short read.
I found it all interesting and quite good, barring the final three sentences of the book which I won't give away.
Remarking on the quality of the editing and text -- this version seemed flawless and without error. I read it in one sitting and nothing stood out as a hindrance. I was also able to read the 'popular highlights' as well. A worthy read.
Big Game hunter and writer Sanger Rainsford and his friend Whitney are aboard a yacht somewhere in the Caribbean, on their way to Brazil to hunt jaguars. There is talk of a nervous crew as they pass Ship-Trap Island, a mysterious place the sailors dread. The talk of Rainsford and Whitney turns to the hunt, and it is this conversation between the two men about what the jaguar does or does not feel while being stalked that lies at the heart of this tale.
Shots are fired, and in an effort to discover what is happening on deck, Sanger falls overboard, making a harrowing escape to said island. There he discovers not madness, but the ultimate extension of himself. The “hunt” is tremendously exciting, the brevity of the story creating great movement in the narrative. Sanger, General Zaroff, and his towering right-hand man, Ivan, are memorable in this thrilling tale of adventure which also ponders larger questions. Connell was perhaps most successful at the short story, a slew of them published in The Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s. But he was also a journalist and screenwriter. Though Robert Riskin wrote the screenplay for Frank Capra’s wonderful film, Meet John Doe, the original film treatment was written by Connell and Robert Presell, who received an Academy Award nomination for it.
Despite its age, this tale feels timeless, and is near perfect. On the technical side, there are a few typos in the transfer to Kindle, but rare, so not too distracting. A thrilling story everyone who loves the short story form should read. Marvelous.