I've never heard of the Flashman series of novels by George MacDonald Fraser, but the description that has accompanied his obituary today has my curiosity sparked:

He wrote the first novel of the Flashman Papers in 1969 after he quit as assistant editor of the Glasgow Herald.

The book imagines what happened after Flashman -- the bully in Thomas Hughes's Tom Brown's Schooldays -- was expelled from Rugby for drunkenness.

Eleven more novels were to follow in the series, during which Flashman -- the most lily-livered hero in Victorian England - fornicates and brawls his way round the empire, provides Abraham Lincoln with his "you can't fool all the people all the time" quotation, and accidentally starts the charge of the Light Brigade.

-- Rogers Cadenhead

Comments

The Flashman novels, and pretty much everything Fraser has ever written, are absolutely amazing. Thoroughly entertaining in every way. Flashman goes everywhere, does everything, and meets everybody. They're very well done, a joy to read and reread.

Very sorry to hear Fraser's gone. He was an amazing guy.


 

An obscure bit of trivia: Harry Nilsson's final album, "Flash Harry", was named after the main character of the Flashman novels. A copy of "Flashman at the Charge" can be seen on the album cover.


 

The note in the obit should indeed get more people to notice these books. They're funny as hell, but not funny at every moment. The pacing of the books feels like the better "action comedy" movies that came out twenty years later. Predicting what loathsome thing Flashman was going to do just because he could was essentially impossible.


 

One of the novels was actually made into a movie staring Malcolm McDowell:

us.imdb.com


 

I enjoyed this piece about Fraser by Christopher Hitchens.


 

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