A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Having seen a couple movie adaptations, I was expecting something silly, light and inconsequential out of Mark Twain here. That's a major reason it took me so long to get around to this one. What I got blew my mind.
Twain's story of a 19th century man who finds himself transported back to 6th century England. His immediate instinct is to use his 13-century advantage of hive-mind-generated knowledge to make himself master of all he surveys. He fashions himself a powerful sorcerer, dubs himself The Boss and institutes industries and education systems.
The book laid the groundwork for one of my favorite films, "Army of Darkness," and its cocky hero, Ash. Twain's book is not only outrageous and consistently hilarious, but deep and insightful. He takes hard looks at slavery, racism and classism, bitterly satirizing power-mongering authorities. At times, the book comes at close to inducing tears as it does belly laughs.
Nick Offerman's Audible performance lifts the prose to an even higher level. His blustering tone is a perfect match for the material, and his character voice work is astoundingly convincing. If there's another movie made of this book, he needs to be the star.
"A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" is not only the best Mark Twain book I've experienced, but one of the best humor novels I've ever encountered. The genius author proves that one of the best ways to advocate for progress is to look backward.
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