Posts Tagged ‘ian hay’

h1

A Safety Match

May 16, 2018

A Safety Match is like if Ian Hay deliberately set out to write a fun he/she fell in love with his/her wife/husband book minus all of the really knotty emotional scenes, and mostly succeeded. In fact, I’m not sure it’s not on purpose. Skipping past Daphne’s early married life seems like a spoilsport move, but I can see him legitimately not finding that interesting. Skipping past most of her estrangement from her husband…well, I can see me not finding that all that interesting. But when Jack Carr’s secretary sends Daphne home and Hay excises only the part of the conversation that convinces her, I began to get annoyed. He does give us the reconciliation scene, but by then everything is a foregone conclusion, so it’s not that exciting. Actually, nothing is that exciting. There are few surprises in this book. Hay knows all the beats this romance plot is supposed to hit, and he hits them.  Read the rest of this entry ?

Advertisements
h1

The First Hundred Thousand

January 25, 2012

The First Hundred Thousand, by Ian Hay, is another of those slightly fictionalized, early-days-of-the-war books. And obviously it’s a bit depressing some of the time, but mostly it’s pretty funny.

This is an account of the training — and, later, the deployment — of a regiment of Scottish soldiers, and basically it does everything right. The humor works without Hay having to sacrifice detail, and I ended up with a much clearer idea than I’d had before about how the British Army was trained, and especially about how things worked once the troops got to the trenches.

My favorite bit, though, is “Olympus,” the chapter on the military bureaucracy, which I’m struggling to figure out how to describe without just pasting in a bunch of text. For one thing, it includes the concept of “losing a life” in a game long before video games were thought of. Mostly, though, it’s just funny — a complicated kind of funny that can’t be condensed into one-liners.

Basically, The First Hundred Thousand is humorous without being flippant, sad but not intrusively so, and very frequently clever. Several thumbs up.