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Kai Lung's Golden Hours

Ernest Bramah

Book Overview: 

Kai Lung’s Golden Hours is a frame story or frame novel, that is, the narrative provides a frame for different stories. Think One Thousand And One Nights or Canterbury Tales. Kai Lung is an ancient Chinese storyteller who tells stories to postpone his criminal conviction in the court of a Mandarin.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .scarcely have acted in this incapable manner, for each sheath was inscribed with one symbol of a magic charm and in the possession of the complete sentence resided the whole of the Being's authority and power.

Then Hia, seeing that he could no longer control her movements, and that the end to which she had been bending was attained, gathered together the fruits of her conscientious strategy and fled.

When Ning returned to the condition of ordinary perceptions he was lying alone in the field by the river-side. The great sky-fire made no pretence of averting its rays from his uncovered head, and the lesser creatures of the ground did not hesitate to walk over his once sacred form. The tent and all the other circumstances of the quest of Hia had passed into a state of no-existence, for with a somewhat narrow-minded economy the deity had called them into being with the express provision that they need only be of such a quality as would last for a single. . . Read More

Community Reviews

rare game of great funny writing. Kai Lung is a guy who get in troubles all the time, he is not in favour with authorities and he fell in love with the most beautiful girl around. for me it is amazing how Bramah who never went to China got it quite right. it is real fun.

Such a guilty pleasure. No-one writes sentences like he did - irony (especially litotes) reigns supreme, accompanied by lashings of euphemism.

“It has been said,” he began at length, withdrawing his eyes
reluctantly from an unusually large insect upon the ceiling and
addressing himself to the maiden

This book is orientalism cranked up to eleven, and, though I can’t speak to how it felt when it was originally published one hundred years ago, to me that orientalism feels weird now. It’s like if someone from outside the U.S. wrote a book about cowboys that eat nothing but cheeseburgers and apple p

This humble and inoffensive person, whose views could not possibly be of interest to exalted personages who might, by the influence of malign spirits, stumble across them, nevertheless dares to recommend this book as being replete with sayings of remarkable wisdom, such as the following:

"There is a

I tried to write my comments on Ernest Bramah’s Kai Lung’s Golden Hours, which I just finished, in the same style:

In the opinion of this lowly reader, the esteemed author before our unworthy eyes has created a gem of the highest quality, polished by fine craft.

But you can only do this so long before

The China of Ernest Bramah’s Kai Lung stories is no more a real place than Tolkien’s Middle Earth. It is a fantasy realm. It should be approached from that mindset.

There is an overarching narrative line to “Kai Lung’s Golden Hours’ but it is more of a device than a plot. The book exists largely to h

I don't know much about Chinese culture or anything, but I really enjoyed this book. It's similar to 1001 Nights where the narrator tells stories to delay his death. The language and narration takes a little getting used to, but it has a lot of subtle (and not so subtle) wit and humor.

Written in 1925, the language is quite different but rewarding. The over arching story line is similar to Arabian nights with each tale putting off the end of the story teller. For anyone who loves mythical tales from the past.

How is it possible to suspend topaz in one cup of the balance and weigh it against amethyst in the other; or who...can compare the tranquillising grace of a maiden with the invigorating pleasure of witnessing a well-contested rat-fight?

Forget the frenetic world of Facebook, the torrent of trivia tha

Didn't expect to like this book so much. I liked the way it began, was intrigued and then lured along in like manner the whole way through. It's the premise that hooked me. Here's Kai Lung, a professional story-teller, who claims he knows a story for every situation in life. He's a bit cocky on that

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