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The Napoleon of Notting Hill [Paperback]

G. K. Chesterton
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 1991 048626551X 978-0486265513 New edition
A comical futurist fantasy, first published in 1904, about a tradition-loving suburban London community of the 1980s at war with its modernizing neighbors. Chesterton's splendid storytelling gifts and his sympathies for the plight of small nations trying to remain independent are strongly in evidence. 7 illustrations by W. Graham Robertson. New Introduction by Martin Gardner.

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About the Author

Geboren am 29.05.1874 in London; gestorben am 14.06.1936 in Beaconsfield. Chesterton war der Sohn eines Auktionators. Er besuchte die Kunstschule und arbeitete als Karrikaturist und Journalist. Ab 1900 war er hauptberuflich Schriftsteller. Er heiratete 1901. Chesterton betätigte sich in allen literarischen Sparten. Bekannt geworden ist er ist er vor allem durch seine Detektivgeschichten des "Father Brown". --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Seriousness sends men mad Sept. 7 2008
Imagine a 1984 London where society has frozen at turn-of-the-century levels, a King is randomly selected from the populace, and nobody really takes politics seriously.

Of course, it only takes one wise, weird little man to turn all of that on its head. G.K. Chesterton's magnificently absurd comic novel explores a common theme in his books -- a person who entertains himself with an absurdly serious world -- in an increasingly heated situation where the little boroughs of London have become warring kingdoms. Not much in the way of sci-fi, but a delicious little social satire.

Friends of the eccentric Auberon Quin are understandably shocked when he is selected as the new King of England... especially since his main focus is definitely not power ("Oh! I will toil for you, my faithful people! You shall have a banquet of humour!"). After bumping into a young boy with a toy sword, Quin decides to revive the old city-states of medieval times, with city walls, banners, halberdiers, coat of arms, and ruling provosts -- all as a joke.

But ten years later, a young man named Adam Wayne -- who happens to be the little boy who inspired Quin -- refuses to let a road go through Notting Hill. Quin is first delighted and then perplexed by Wayne, a man who treats the King's joke with deadly seriousness. Now a full-out medieval battle is brewing between the boroughs of London, and Auberon Quin finds that his joke may have some very serious consequences...

G.K. Chesterton was no H.G. Wells when it came from trying to imagine the future --- the 1984 London he imagined was pretty much the same, technologically and socially, as the London of 1904.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wise and exuberant fantasy Aug. 24 2001
Chesterton is one of the neglected giants of 20th-century English literature. This book ought to be considered a minor classic of both fantasy and political allegory. It tells the story of the consequences of a decree issued on a whim by a bored governor that London be devolved into districts corresponding roughly to its ancient boroughs, and each given municipal rituals in order to instil a sense of civic belonging. This joke takes on a life of its own, as the citizens of the "new" boroughs take the battle - eventually, literally a battle - to each other. The Napoleon of the title is Adam Wayne, an enthusiastic *citoyen* who takes the new arrangements with great seriousness - and whose territorial aggrandisement and downfall mirror Napoleon's career. The point that Chesterton intimates - in a vastly more effective, because more subtle, way than more explicitly political novelists, such as Upton Sinclair - is that small and knowable communities are a desirable and indeed virtuous focus of our loyalties, but that the aggrandisement of power and territorial ambition tend to corrupt. While fashionable literary opinion (Wells, Shaw, Wyndham Lewis and so many others) was about to take a terrible wrong turning in favour of the totalitarianism of Right or Left, Chesterton's essential and very English sense of moderation formed, and continues to express, a most effective and beautifully written counterpoint.
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The theme of the Napoleon of Nottingham Hill is that it is better to live a short exciting life than a long boring one. GKC would argue that the moment when you are most lucid and the world is convinced that you are mad is exactly when you are the most sane. The Napoleon of Nottingham Hill is the story of how an irrational war among London's suburbs finally gives meaning to the lives of moderns who have become so board with living. The book also explains what humor is and how man can stand proud without sinning. If you read one book by GKC, let it be this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A truelly amazing book! June 29 2000
This is deffinately one of the best books I have ever read, and if you are into adventure, this is the book! Nahhh...It would take to long to write out the excellent storyline. Get it and read it yourself! You won't regret it!
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