Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Silver by Andrew Motion

With a style echoing that of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, author Andrew Motion has written a sequel to that classic tale of pirates and adventure. Building on the fact that not all the treasure had been removed from the island in the original story, Motion sets the stage for a return trip to that benighted place in order to retrieve the remaining silver. The plan is the idea of aging Long John Silver who is living in London. He sends his daughter, Matty, to convince Jim Hawkin’s son, also named Jim, to steal his father’s map of Treasure Island and come on the voyage. For Matty, her share of the silver offers the opportunity for a life on her own, away from the tavern her parents run in the docks area of London.

The story follows the developing friendship of these two young people as well as the voyage to the island, what is found there and the voyage back. The cover of the book says that  “Motion has written a truly accomplished work of literature - rollicking, heartfelt, and utterly brilliant - that would make Robert Louis Stevenson proud.”  While Stevenson would probably say Motion has done a creditable job, with literary merit keeping in the spirit of his original story, he might find the book hardly rollicking, only modestly heartfelt and less than brilliant. Of course, “Brilliant” is a common, frequently used British expression of enthusiasm, no matter the actual degree of greatness. After all, Motion is British and a former Poet Laureate knighted for his service to literature in 2009. His book was originally published in Great Britain. Its publication date in the U.S. is August 2012.

While entertained by the story and its well-continued style of the original, I was not as thrilled as I had hoped to be upon reading the cover. At the end of Silver one is also left with a feeling that Motion could write a sequel. Maybe Tarnished Silver?

Cynthia Heather

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