The Fencing Master: A Novel

by Arturo Perez--Reverte | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0156006847 Global Overview for this book
Registered by florafloraflora on 8/25/2003
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11 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by florafloraflora on Monday, August 25, 2003
My husband enjoyed this book. We've got an extra copy so I'm sending it out into the world.

Journal Entry 2 by florafloraflora on Monday, September 15, 2003
Mailed off today to FlocoDeNeve in Brazil.

Journal Entry 3 by FlocoDeNeve on Friday, November 07, 2003
Got this book today through mail from SugarKane in the US and am looking forward to read it! Thanks a lot!

Journal Entry 4 by FlocoDeNeve on Monday, November 17, 2003
Excellent book about an old fencingmaster living in Madrid in 1868. The world around him is changing, but he is trying to stay unchanged. His life takes a drastic change as a woman is asking for fencing lessons, and soon he gets involved far more than he would have wished in the political situation in the country. Very, very good book, one of the best I've read in a long time.

Journal Entry 5 by FlocoDeNeve at on Friday, January 30, 2004
Release planned for Monday, February 02, 2004 at Post office in By post, Sent to another BookCrosser Controlled Releases.

Trading with Shylock for another book, I hope it gets there fast despite me sending it by surface mail!

Journal Entry 6 by Shylock from Skipton, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Saturday, February 07, 2004
Wow that was quick, it definitely didn't go via slowboat. The Mermaids Singing is due to arrive in 6-8 weeks,hopefully that will get an upgrade too. Thanks very much Floco..

Journal Entry 7 by Shylock from Skipton, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Monday, December 13, 2004
I adore this author,so savoured every moment. He's streets ahead of anyone else who has that rare skill of marrying literary talent & erudition with mystery.
I like 'The Flanders Panel' best followed by 'The Dumas Club', but i learned a lot about fencing in this as well as being immersed in an intriguing narrative.

Planning on doing a ring with this in the New Year:

titihood
phantomcougar
olifant
dani75
ekaterin4luv
dododumpling
d-o-m
shylock

Journal Entry 8 by titihood on Sunday, January 23, 2005
Wow! Thank you Shylock, this arrived on Saturday morning, it was a great start to the weekend! I'm just finishing 2 other bookrings first but will get onto this in about a week...

Journal Entry 9 by Ally1665 from Silsden, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, February 24, 2005
Thanks Titihood,
I'm already half way through this. Perhaps being on a ring has forced me to finally make a serious attempt at reading it. I had my own copy of this a few years ago and tried to read it about 3 times. I am enjoying it, (Except for the politics!)

Journal Entry 10 by Ally1665 from Silsden, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Saturday, February 26, 2005
OK I read it and I quite enjoyed it. Would have liked it more if I had understood the politics and history of Spain in that time but I did enjoy it. But it's still not as good as "The Club Dumas" or as mesmerising as "The Flanders Panel" or as adventurous as "The Nautical Chart" which are all by the same author. It has made me think that perhaps I should have another shot at "The Queen of the South" which I dismissed last year without giving it much of a chance!

Journal Entry 11 by Ally1665 from Silsden, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Next on the list is Olifant in Utrecht. Going to hand it over personally when I travel to Amsterdam on Saturday. We have plans for Coffee!

Journal Entry 12 by Ally1665 from Silsden, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Controlled release to Olifant in Utrecht.

Journal Entry 13 by Olifant from Porthmadog, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 09, 2005
That was a nice mini-meeting in Utrecht in Springhavercafé, phantomcougar!
Exchanging books and chatting. And yes, we did take a picture with your book in the middle, Shylock :-)

Journal Entry 14 by Olifant from Porthmadog, Wales United Kingdom on Friday, March 11, 2005
Started in it in the evening and finished the book in the early hours of the morning. Was especially captivated by the atmosphere, the way in which Pérez-Reverte writes about fencing, the foils, the place where Don Jaime lives and teaches, the clothes people wear, the talks in the pub with his friends on politics. History is nicely interwoven with the story. The story itself is a bit simple and I would have liked a more complex plot. But overall a good read and I will watch out for his other books as people say those books are better than this one. Thanks Shylock for ringing and introducing me to this author. Book is off to dani75 Monday morning.

edit: other work The Seville Communion

Journal Entry 15 by Dani75 from Rudersberg, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Thursday, March 24, 2005
Oh wow! This book has done some travelling! It´s now here with me in Germany and I can´t wait to start reading it.

Journal Entry 16 by Dani75 from Rudersberg, Baden-Württemberg Germany on Wednesday, May 04, 2005
I enjoyed the story but I have to admit that it´s not my favourite book by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. I was quite a bit confused by all the fencing terminology, I think I didn´t get half of it and coul´dn´t picture it at all. But maybe that was just a language problem.

I hope to meet ekaterin4luv this weekend in Basel/Switzerland at the (european) meet-up and will pass this book on to her there.

Journal Entry 17 by ekaterin4luv from Nürnberg, Bayern Germany on Sunday, May 08, 2005
Sorry, I missed you at Basel (we arrived on Friday), but I got it all right.

edit: 19.07. reading right now, sorry it took that long.

Journal Entry 18 by ekaterin4luv from Nürnberg, Bayern Germany on Sunday, July 31, 2005
"The ghosts of the people we could have been and weren't.... Isn't that what it is? The people we dreamed of beeing, until we were forced to wake from the dream." (p.103)

This book is like I imagine a long hot summer day in Spain: A long siesta during the sweltering heat of the day, the only movement is kept indoors, but the pace of life picks up in the night. The day ends in a too short finale furioso.

"God tolerates the intolerable; he is irresponsible and inconsistent. He is not a gentleman." (p.98)

The Fencing Master is really beautifully written, you can almost feel the heat, hear the clash of the fencing foils, but that doesn't mean that I liked it. It just didn't get to me. First the story begins so slow, and just as it begins to interest me, it is already over. Maybe it was the fencing, I could never see any real fascination in that. (only in films, especially with Erol Flinn ;)
What exactly is fencing? Art? Ritual Killing? Sport? "We can heardly object if two men insist on killing each other over a point of honor, can we? But we can at least demand that they do so in the politest way possible."(p.132) I couldn't see any logic in that. At least one of them will be dead, either way, politely or not. And no, I won't say it: MEN!


"..and he believed ardently that the two most important contributions to the history of humanity had been the printing press and the guillotine." (p.18) No, I won't comment on that, but where did I read that before?


And now the fencing master will teach dododumpling.

Journal Entry 19 by dododumpling from St. Neots, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Dieses Buch ist gestern bei mir angekommen. Vielen Dank, ekaterin4luv, and thanks also to Shylock.

Journal Entry 20 by dododumpling from St. Neots, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, August 31, 2005
This was one of those books where between reads I was often tempted to pick up something else, if you know what I mean. It just didn't pull me back, somehow. However, once I was actually immersed in reading it, I quite enjoyed it. The main characters of Don Jaime, Adele de Otero and the Marqués de los Alumbres are well drawn and interesting and despite not really understanding a word of the fencing scenes (!) I enjoyed the action, the romance, the skill. (Initially, I thought a glossary of fencing terms would have been useful, but I think now that I would have been forever turning back and forth between glossary and narrative and it would have spoilt the flow of my reading.)

I do agree with phantomcougar about the politics and history. Unfortunately it hasn't really sparked any desire in me to read further into Spanish history. And I got very confused by the names of all the government ministers, conspirators, and Don Jaime's friends.

Oh dear, I sound quite negative about the book, don't I? But I'm not, not really, and I would like to read other works by Pérez-Reverte.

Journal Entry 21 by dododumpling from St. Neots, Cambridgeshire United Kingdom on Thursday, September 01, 2005
Posted off to d-o-m.

Journal Entry 22 by tagesmann on Monday, September 05, 2005
Received Saturday, should be able to start soon.

Journal Entry 23 by tagesmann on Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Brilliant! I hadn't read anything by Señor Perez-Reverte before but had heard good things. I wasn't disappointed. I’m not sure whether it was the style or the setting but I was strongly reminded of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez – which is no bad thing.
I found I could sympathise with the fencing master and his wish to return to a time where people behaved differently (one that probably didn’t exist). Some things never change.

Journal Entry 24 by tagesmann on Sunday, October 02, 2005
On its way home. Thanks for the ring Shylock.

Journal Entry 25 by Shylock from Skipton, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Safely home, many thanks for completing the ring, and for the lovely bookmark d-o-m

Journal Entry 26 by Shylock from Skipton, North Yorkshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, July 05, 2006
On its way to cwoods

Journal Entry 27 by ZET-734626 on Saturday, July 08, 2006
Arrived in the post this morning, safe and sound. Thank you very much Shylock! I'll get to this as soon as I either finish or abandon the Proust that I'm reading right now.

Oh, and I must say this, it's in superb condition for being such a well-travelled book.

Journal Entry 28 by ZET-734626 on Monday, July 17, 2006
A thoroughly enjoyable tale even if, like me, you know absolutetly nothing about fencing.

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