Ernest Bramah’s “Kai Lung” stories

If you have not read Kai Lung’s Golden Hours, by Ernest Bramah, do so.  Together with The Wallet of Kai Lung and Kai Lung unrolls his mat, it forms a little-known English classic.  The humorous stories are set in an imagined version of Imperial China where everyone talks in a kind of English Mandarin.  Kai Lung is a Chinese story-teller, and the books contain a series of stories and aphorisms.  It sounds dull; but in truth the books are enchanting. 

Thinking of atheism just now, I stumbled online across this quotation, which reminded me.

It is a mark of insincerity of purpose to spend one’s time in looking for the sacred Emperor in low-class teashops.

Office politics made me think of another:

It has been said there are few situations in life that cannot be honourably settled, and without loss of time, either by suicide, a bag of gold or by thrusting a despised antagonist over the edge of a precipice on a dark night.

There are not nearly enough good, gentle, amusing books in the world.  Enjoy the Golden Hours.  And do buy it in paperback form, rather than read it online?

2 thoughts on “Ernest Bramah’s “Kai Lung” stories

  1. I’ve never seen any Bramah in paperback, except the very old Ace Fantasy copy that I managed to find at Pulpcon. (And I’d been looking for a good twenty years at that point.) Very old hardbacks in obscure corners of university libraries, more like.

  2. I have all three in Penguin paperbacks. Evidently I was luckier than I knew.

    There are cheap reprints available from the usual people like Kessinger, I believe, but I don’t like their books much.

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