Thursday, January 3, 2008

RIP (and Thank You) George Macdonald Fraser

I was saddened to learn of the death yesterday of the author George Macdonald Fraser. Fraser, a Scot, created the Flashman series of novels, which have given me a great deal of pleasure over the years. He was 82. The cause of death was cancer.

Fraser had served in India during World War and worked as a journalist in Glasgow before becoming an author and screenwriter. The original Flashman novel started that portion of his career in the late 1960's. In it, he took a minor character in 19th century literature and imagined him into one of the greatest cads in English fiction. His novels are great fun and feature well-researched and accurate historical people, places, and actions.

He also wrote a wonderful memoir of his military service (Quartered Safe Out Here), and a series of short-stories inspired by that period of his life (the "McAuslan" stories). He wrote a parody of pirate books (The Pyrates) and a handful of novels set in Victorian and Elizabethan England. His screenplays included several "musketeers" movies and Force Ten from Navarone.

George Macdonald Fraser was a fine writer. He has left us an impressive body of work. Thank you, sir.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I still haven't read any of his books yet, although I hope to someday do so. Ahead of that I'll have to complete my set of "A Dance To the Music Of Time" by Anthony Powell and my combined volume of "The Penguin Novels" by Andrei Kurkov (which will mean rereading the first one before reading the second).

I can, however, recommend to everyone the original Flashman novel, "Tom Brown's Schooldays."

Proust is good. Read Proust. Nothing is more rewarding.

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