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To Build a Fire and Other Stories by Jack…
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To Build a Fire and Other Stories

by Jack London

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I gave this 5 stars in paper format, but never reviewed it. It's been decades since I last read it, so I'm overwriting that edition with this one. I remember some of the stories very well.

Overall, the stories ranged from OK to fantastic, but overall, they were quite good. It was depressing as hell, though. It's a tough world where a 'happy' ending is surviving intact. I'm not surprised I let so many years go by between reads. Definitely memorable, but certainly not uplifting. Still, I recommend it.

There is an underlying morality to all the stories of perseverance & honor. No matter how bad it gets, the best keep trying to do their best. It might kill them, but it's a harsh world. Mere death is no excuse.

If you haven't read these stories or don't remember them, don't read the spoilers. They are & sometimes that's what really makes the story good.

To Build A Fire 5 stars but depressing as hell. Great point & adventure story of the Yukon, though.

The Red One 2 stars, an attempt at mixing "Heart of Darkness" with a Wells or Verne SF story. Didn't do much for me. Takes place in the Solomons, Guadalcanal.

All Gold Canyon 4 stars, another gold digging adventure that was rather manic depressive.

A Piece of Steak 4 stars, a boxing story & depressing as hell. Is he trying to get me to follow him into alcoholic depression? It's moving as hell, although a bit long winded.

The Love of Life 4 stars, survival in the arctic, although at least it is relatively warm. Tough men!!! At least one lived. About time.

Flush of Gold 3 stars, kind of a horror story, a real shame.

The Story of Keesh 3 stars. Told as a myth, it's memorable & one of the few that isn't depressing, if you look at it one way. In another, it's horrible. OK, the guy was feeding folks, but killing polar bears by feeding them bones that tore up their innards & killed them slowly & in great pain is awful.

The Wisdom of the Trail 3 stars. Not really a myth, but kind of a native voice. A short story of tough times on the northern trails.
( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
I never knew Kipling and Stevenson were his literary heroes, but it stands to reason. His writing has the same strengths and defects as theirs does: great raconteur-ism, vivid scenes, relentless, graphic gore, a tendency to turgid prose, and thumpingly condescending portraits of the non-white "others" who people his exotic landscapes (portraits that actually seem meant, in London's case, to pay them tribute). There's still something worth looking for in fiction to be found here--maybe a sense, even if a failed sense, of the mythic. How many of the "best-selling and highest paid" authors of today (whoever they are) will we say the same about in a hundred years? ( )
  CSRodgers | May 3, 2014 |
1. To Build a Fire- 5.0; wonderful, descriptive writing of a great story
2.
  jntjesussaves | Feb 5, 2014 |
Gripping short story ( )
  JBGUSA | Mar 31, 2013 |
To Build A Fire' - arguably the greatest short story written in the English language? London at his very best. ( )
  Polaris- | Jan 24, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth-bank, where a dim and little-travelled trail led eastward through the fat spruce timberland.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
This "Penguin 60s" edition of this title does not include 25 stories, or "introduction, biographical note, and afterword by David Lubar." It includes only 3 of London's stories: To Build a Fire, The Chinago, and Love of Life (which is called "Love of Live" in the table of contents.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553213350, Mass Market Paperback)

To Build A Fire and Other Stories is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging collection of Jack London's short stories available in paperback. This superb volume brings together twenty-five of London's finest, including a dozen of his great Klondike stories, vivid tales of the Far North were rugged individuals, such as the Malemute Kid face the violence of man and nature during the Gold Rush Days. Also included are short masterpieces from his later writing, plus six stories unavailable in any other paperback edition. Here, along with London's famous wilderness adventures and fireband desperadoes, are portraits of the working man, the immigrant, and the exotic outcast: characters representing the entire span of the author's prolific imaginative career, in tales that have been acclaimed throughout the world as some of the most thrilling short stories ever written.

 

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:19 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A diverse collection of London's best including 12 Klondike stories and many of his later works.

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