by Patrick O'Brian


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"A welcome reissue of O'Brian's moving and very fine first novel."—Kirkus Reviews

Delmore Schwartz, the most influential critic in postwar America, wrote of Patrick O'Brian's first novel Testimonies: "A triumph...drawn forward by lyric eloquence and the story's fascination, [the reader] discovers in the end that he has encountered in a new way the sphinx and the riddle of existence itself." Schwartz' imagination was fired by this sinister tale of love and death set in Wales, a timeless story with echoes of Thomas Hardy and Mary Webb.

Joseph Pugh, sick of Oxford and of teaching, decides to take some time off to live in a wild and beautiful Welsh farm valley. There he falls physically ill and is nursed back to health by Bronwen Vaughn, the wife of a neighboring farmer. Slowly, unwillingly, Bronwen and Pugh fall in love;' and while that word is never spoken between them, their story is as passionate and as tragic as that of Vronsky and Anna Karenina.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393313161
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 07/17/1995
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 507,480
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Patrick O'Brian's acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).Set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, O'Brian's twenty-volume series centers on the enduring friendship between naval officer Jack Aubrey and physician (and spy) Stephen Maturin. The Far Side of the World, the tenth book in the series, was adapted into a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. The film was nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Picture. The books are now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format.In addition to the Aubrey/Maturin novels, Patrick O'Brian wrote several books including the novels Testimonies, The Golden Ocean, and The Unknown Shore, as well as biographies of Joseph Banks and Picasso. He translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir, the first volume of Jean Lacouture's biography of Charles de Gaulle, and famed fugitive Henri Cherrière's memoir Papillon. O'Brian died in January 2000.

Date of Birth:

December 12, 1914

Date of Death:

January 2, 2000

Place of Birth:

Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire

Place of Death:

Dublin, Ireland


Shebbear College, Devon

What People are Saying About This

Eudora Welty

Patrick O'Brian has a power of bringing near to the reader...savagery and tenderness, beauty and mystery and boldness and dignity.

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Testimonies 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
booksinthebelfry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A landlocked departure for the author of the Aubrey/Maturin novels (which I've not read, although The Nutmeg of Consolation is among my favoritie book titles!).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure I quite got it. Though I could see the precise and detailed description that are characteristic of the Aubrey/Maturin tales, the story itself was vague and somewhat ephemeral. The story did not flow and made presumptions that I seem to have lost. I was particularly confused by the chapters that shifted to the interview style. This was really a short story or novelette and it felt as if O'brian was experimenting with various techniques and perhaps in that sense it interesting as precursor to his later works.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently started reading this book and I just can't put it down! It's a truely amazing love story.