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The Complete Short Stories


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About the Author

Patrick O’Brian, until his death in 2000, was one of our greatest contemporary novelists. He is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey–Maturin tales and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He is the author of many other books including Testimonies, and his Collected Short Stories. In 1995 he was the first recipient of the Heywood Hill Prize for a lifetime’s contribution to literature. In the same year he was awarded the CBE. In 1997 he received an honorary doctorate of letters from Trinity College, Dublin. He lived for many years in South West France and he died in Dublin in January 2000.


‘Narrative addicts all have writers to whom they return regularly to cheer or console themselves. Mine are Georgette Heyer, C.S. Forester, Margery Allingham and Dick Francis. I have just discovered another, Patrick O’Brian, and he is in many ways better and more satisfying than any of them.’ A.S. BYATT, EVENING STANDARD ‘Young writers ought, before lurching into print, to be obliged to learn by heart at least one of Patrick O’Brian’s short stories . . . O’Brian writes like a man to whom writing comes as easily as breathing: precisely, fluently, economically . . . perfect cadences.’ JANE SHILLING, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH ‘A Kafka in the countryside . . . O’Brian’s accounts of travelling have the clarity of the best descriptive writing . . . The astonishing achievement of these short stories is not just the author’s truth to the landscape, but his pitiless vision of the disintegration of personality when a living creature is struggling in a hostile world.’ ANTHONY EVERITT, COUNTRY LIFE ‘He is more than a merely popular writer. He is a very, very fine one.’ CHARLTON HESTON, DAILY TELEGRAPH ‘It is his ability to develop character, his delightful humour, and the emotion he can evoke, which keep the reader entranced’ TIMOTHY MO, SPECTATOR ‘The greatest historical novelist of all time.’ THE TIMES ‘There are two types of people in the world: Patrick O’Brian fans, and people who haven’t read him yet.’ LUCY EYRE, GUARDIAN

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