Pride of Carthage by David Anthony Du... Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Email This Page

  AddThis Social Bookmark Button

AALBC.com's Thumper's Corner Discussion Board » Thumper's Corner - Archive 2005 » Pride of Carthage by David Anthony Durham « Previous Next »

Author Message
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Steve_s
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Steve_s

Post Number: 107
Registered: 04-2004

Rating: N/A
Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2005 - 08:18 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Last weekend I had a chance to finish this epic novel of Hannibal, his crossing of the Alps, and the Second Punic War. It's a history I really did not know, so I was interested in learning something about it. I think that when all is said and done, this will be considered one of the outstanding books of the year. I certainly think so. Anyway, I couldn't wait to pick it up again and continue the story. I would love to hear some opinions - dissenting or otherwise - about this book.

Another book I'm halfway through is Adam Mansbach's "Angry Black White Boy, or, the Miscegenation of Macon Detornay." Oh, man, despite the somewhat silly title, this book is funny. In my opinion, this is a much better book than his hip-hop jazz novel, Shackling Water, simply because his personality really shines through in this one, but also because I think he knows a lot more about the cultural politics of hip-hop than he does about jazz.

A couple of other books I'm waiting on and expect to receive in the next few days:

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi -- From what I've heard, this is an incredibly talented and impossibly young Nigerian author (she was 18 when she completed this novel). So I look forward to reading it.

The Professor's Daughter by Emily Raboteau -- I'm looking forward to this one too.

Then there's that short story author who's apparently named after the first Black All American who had the ear of US presidents from Taft and Coolidge to who knows who else. Oh yeah, William Henry Lewis. I think his book is called "I Got Somebody in Staunton." Should be interesting.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Crystal
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Crystal

Post Number: 228
Registered: 01-2004

Rating: N/A
Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2005 - 01:19 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I enjoyed Pride of Carthage too Steve. I didnít know much of that history either and with historical novels being my favorite this was perfect for me. I even found the warfare strategies interesting, which I usually donít. He did an ok job with the male characters but there was something missing from the women. I just couldnít get to know them and Iíd like to see more of their story. I enjoy those power behind-the-scenes tales that describe so many women in historical stories. Iíd also like to see Durham do Hannibalís fatherís story.

I think Thumper may have said he found it boring but I didnít Ė at all.

Iím currently reading Q&A by Vikas Swarup. A very funny and sad at the same time story of a young boy from the slums of Delhi and Mumbai, India who answers all the questions correctly in Indiaís version of who wants to be a billionaire and wins. Since he appears to be too poor and ignorant to know the answers, and because the sponsor of the show doesnít have the money to pay him, they accuse him of cheating and throw him in jail. Each chapter in the book is a part of his life story that explains how he knew the answers to each question Ė trivia extraordinaire. Iíve had several laugh-out-loud moments with this one.

Up next I have Segu by Maryse Conde and Lemon City by Elaine Meryl Brown.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thumper
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Thumper

Post Number: 431
Registered: 01-2004

Rating: N/A
Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2005 - 09:16 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello All,

Thanks Steve and Crystal for saying that you loved Pride of Carthage. Steve I read your earlier post. It looks like I stopped reading right at the point where you say the book started to pick up and get really interesting. I do believe I'm going to have to pick it back up and give it another shot...when I come off my Winter Wonderland vacation.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Thumper
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Thumper

Post Number: 432
Registered: 01-2004

Rating: N/A
Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2005 - 09:22 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello All,

I forgot to add to my previous post, Steve: I highly recommend William Henry Lewis's I Got Somebody in Staunton. Lewis is an awesome talent. I put his short story collection right up there along J. California Cooper's best.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Steve_s
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Steve_s

Post Number: 108
Registered: 04-2004

Rating: N/A
Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Friday, August 26, 2005 - 01:42 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thumper, Thanks. Reviewer Alan Cheuse (NPR/SF Examiner) had the exact same reaction as some of us to the beginning of the novel, and his review was overwhelmingly positive (as were most of the reviews).

"It took about 40 pages or so before I could feel at ease in the odd and unfamiliar time and setting of the Punic Wars. Flaubert tried it in "Salammbo" and made it arch. When a young American writer tries it you can only hold your breath and wish him well. But fairly soon I was breathing in concert with Durham's many characters and was immersed in his broad and measured scenes of war . . ."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/02/13/RVGLNB57BB1.DTL

I'm not that hung up on reviews, but I would like to point out this interesting one by Quinn Eli in the Raleigh News and Observer. I think he makes some good points, however, my feeling after reading the novel is that it's mostly an apolitical novel, although I could be wrong. Anyway, some food for thought.

http://www.triangle.com/books/bookreview/story/2143645p-8525538c.html

I already posted on another book forum about Pride of Carthage. All I did was quote David Anthony Durham on his historical research for the novel:

"This book is a work of fiction and should only be read as a novel. It was inspired by real figures and events, but I have taken many liberties to arrange the material into a workable narrative. For those interested in a historian's take, there are many sources to consult, beginning with the ancients themselves: Polybius and Livy. Among the many more recent texts I considered, I wore a few thin and ragged. Lesley and Roy A. Adkins' Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome; Nigel Bagnall's The Punic Wars; Leonard Cottrell's Hannibal: Enemy of Rome; Gregory Daly's Cannae; Theodore Ayrault Dodge's Hannibal; Florence Dupont's Daily Life in Ancient Rome; Peter Berresford Ellis' The Celtic Empire; Gustave Flaubert's SalammbÔŅĹ; Adrian Goldsworthy's Cannae; Victor Hanson's Carnage and Culture; B. H. Liddell Hart's Scipio Africanus; Serge Lancel's Hannibal; J.F. Lazenby's The First Punic War and Hannibal's War: A Military History of the Second Punic War; John Peddie's Hannibal's War; John Prevas' Hannibal Crosses the Alps; Frank M. Snowden's Blacks in Antiquity; John Gibson Warry's Warfare in the Classical World; and Terrence Wise's Armies of the Cartheginian Wars, 265-146 B.C."

Then I quoted from an interesting interview in which he adds these literary influences:

"I read everything I could find about Hannibal, the Punic Wars and the Ancient Mediterranean World. In terms of other fiction, I was influenced by Mary Renault's work, like The Persian Boy and The Bull From the Sea, by some of Gore Vidal's historical epics, like Creation, by Lewis Grassic Gibbon's Spartacus, by Gustave Flaubert's SalammbÔŅĹ, as well as by novels considered more commercial in objective, like Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire. Those are all set specifically in the ancient world, but there were other novels that I looked to for inspiration in a more general sense of historical fiction. Beloved by Toni Morrison, Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks, The Known World by Edward P. Jones, and Madison Smartt Bell's novels on the Haitian Revolution: all of these are epic works of literary fiction that served as models for what was possible from a historical novel."

This is a very informative interview worth reading:

http://www.bookbrowse.com/author_interviews/full/index.cfm?author_number=1100

Interesting that 2 people expressed interest in reading the novel, based on the depth of his research.

PS Thanks for the recommendation on Staunton, I remember you started to talk about it earlier. I'll get around to it eventually. I've been bumping into the name William Henry Lewis in some American history books I've been reading.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Steve_s
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Steve_s

Post Number: 109
Registered: 04-2004

Rating: N/A
Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Friday, August 26, 2005 - 02:17 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Crystal, Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, I was wondering about exactly that. One might call this a "male" novel since its subject is war, slaughter, and military strategy, although I find it interesting that you liked the warfare strategies (no reason why you shouldn't). But there is a "domestic" side to this Hannibal -- an emphasis on his sibling relationships and his devotion to his Spanish wife and young son, Hamilcar or "Little Hammer" (can't touch this). Sorry! I'm down here in the hurricane zone and we just dodged a bullet with Katrina, so excuse me if I seem a little giddy! But I thought that Hannibal's sister Sapanibal was a kind of mover and shaker, maybe her character as well as Didobal's (Hannibal's mother) could have been emphasized a bit more?

Thanks very much for the titles, especially Q&A by Vikas Swarup, which I hadn't heard of. I've been reading a book about Bombay by Suketu Mehta (he rejects the name Mumbai for a number of reasons). Sounds interesting, I'll look for it.
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Crystal
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Crystal

Post Number: 229
Registered: 01-2004

Rating: N/A
Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Friday, August 26, 2005 - 12:22 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey Steve. Yea, I enjoyed the little there was about the women and you can tell thereís a real story there and I liked that Durham softened Hannibal up a little - hey, he canít ignore us women readers! Iím not sure why I liked the military stuff but I knew thatís why this story has kept its claim in our history so I had better pay attention and Durham didnít bombard us with strategies Ė just enough to understand what was going on.

Let me know if you read Q&A. Iím a little more than half way through and am enjoying it. Itís not a funny story but has its funny moments. It gives a hard glimpse into the life of street children in India.

And thanks for your post too. Now Iíve got to look up Madison Smartt Bell.

I hope you can relax and enjoy your weekend. I'm in L.A. and thinking of taking Q&A to the beach to finish up.

Oh yea, I checked out Terry McMillan's The Interruption of Everything at the library. Couldn't get into it. I'm just not interested in bullshit men and women and their bullshit relationships. I guess I'm at the point that it's bad enough to remember my own and I damn sure don't want to read about somebody else's.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message

Steve_s
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Steve_s

Post Number: 110
Registered: 04-2004

Rating: N/A
Votes: 0 (Vote!)

Posted on Friday, August 26, 2005 - 10:04 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey, thanks Crystal!

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration

Advertise | Chat | Books | Fun Stuff | About AALBC.com | Authors | Getting on the AALBC | Reviews | Writer's Resources | Events | Send us Feedback | Privacy Policy | Sign up for our Email Newsletter | Buy Any Book (advanced book search)

Copyright © 1997-2008 AALBC.com - http://aalbc.com