The title refers to Oswald Cornelius Esquire, the uncle of Roald Dahl, the author. The story is about the contents from the diary of that uncle.
Roald Dahl was born in 1916 in Llandaf, South Wales. His adults were Norwegian immigrants. Dahl never intended to become a writer, he was always looking for adventure. He worked in East Africa for the Shell Oil Company. During World War II, he joined Britain’s Royal Air Force as a pilot and afterwards he spied on the U.S. government, as a member of the British diplomatic corps. His first writing was named: Over to you: 10 stories of flyers and flying (1946). He lived in England with his wife and children. In the sixties he began writing children’s stories in 1960. His first two novels, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, are made into films. In his work, he often used comical as well as gruesome effects. He is the winner of England’s two most distinguished literary awards, the Withbread Prize and the Children’s Book Award. After his divorce, he remarried in 1983. He died in Oxford in 1990.
Stories: Twenty-nine kisses (1969); The wonderful story of Henry Sugar, and six more (1977).
Child’s books: The magic finger (1966); Charlie and the great glass elevator (1972); The BFG (1982); The witches (1983); Mathilda (1988).
Autobiographical: Boy (1984); Going solo (1986).
Drama: The honey (1955).
The literary period:
The Twentieth century, second part (1945 - now).
The story is a theme novel, based on the most important theme in the novel, which is making money. Oswald wants to make a million pounds before he's thirty.
This book is the diary of Oswald Cornelius Esquire, published by his nephew after Oswald's death.
Oswald, still a boy of barely seventeen, is giving a party, when a stranger knocks on the door and tells Oswald he's a friend of his father. Oswald asks him to join the party. The stranger, Major Grout, tells a story of a strange insect, the Blister Beetle, has been discovered in The Sudan, which if you squeeze it produces a powder with the same effect as a Spanish Fly, but ten times stronger. You can't think of anything but sex.
A month later Oswald goes to Paris, because he has nothing to do in the year that he has to wait before he can study at Cambridge. After a month in Paris he travels to The Sudan to buy Blister Beetles powder. On his return, he starts making pills called Professor Yousopoff's potency pills. He gives some pills to certain ambassadors because he’s invited at a party at the embassy. He tells them the pills are very expensive and earns 1000 pounds. He starts selling more pills for 250 pounds each. After a year he has earned 100000 pounds, but he still thinks it's not enough.
At Cambridge Oswald meets Arthur Worseley, a chemistry teacher and they become friends. Oswald tells him about the pills. Arthur tells him that he's discovered that some animals don’t freeze in the winter and by researching that that he has found a way to freeze sperm. Oswald conceives a plan, he wants to sell the sperm from very famous people to rich ladies, who want another child but not from their husbands. How to get the sperm? The solution is very simple, a lady and the use of Blister Beetles. Oswald knows the perfect lady, Yasmin. In London they make "The Semen's House", a storage device where all the sperm is stored. They experience many adventures and after one year they have covered almost all the names on the list except King Haakon of Norway where Yasmin accidentally took the pill herself and blew it and D.H. Lawrence who was sterile. The three decide to take a break. When Oswald returns he finds a note saying that Yasmin and Arthur are married and that they took the sperm with them except the sperm of Proust who they didn’t like anyway so Oswald had something to sell, he accepts the situation and goes The Sudan and sets up a Blister Beetle pill factory. He earns a million pounds before he's thirty and wonders what Yasmin and Worsely saw in each other because he doesn’t want to end with a relationship.
The story begins in 1910 and ends in 1935.
First Oswald lives with his father and mother in London. Then he lives for a year in France He has also been to Spain, Sudan, whole Europe and America and ends in Paris.
Characters and relationships:
Oswald Cornelius Esquire:
He is the writer of the diary. He is a very clever person, but he abuses others for personal gain. He wants to have a million pounds before he is thirty. Oswald is a connaisseur and a bon vivant. He collects spiders, scorpions and walking sticks. Oswald seduces women and is the greatest fornicator of all time. He’s absolutely a winner.
The Major is an old friend of Oswald’s father. He works at the Irrigation Service in Sudan and tells the secret of the Blister Beetle to Oswald.
He is the chemistry tutor of Cambridge. Woresley is a middle-aged man, untidy dressed and smoking pipes. Oswald and he grow into a pleasant student-tutor relationship. He has a sister Emmaline, who is not attractive at all. A.R. Woresley has found a way to freeze semen and to keep it alive for a long time. He uses the semen to do hypodermic insemination with cows and bulls. Oswald co-operates with him to work out his plans.
She is a biology student of Girton (the ladies’ college at the university). She has an English father and a Persian mother. She works together with Oswald and A.R. Woresley, by collecting the semen from famous men.
Sir Charles Makepiece:
He is a British ambassador to France and an old friend of Oswald’s father. He’s the man who’s got Oswald introduced in the big world of acquaintances which lead to making money.
The story is fiction and just fur fun; not credible.
The theme is making money. Oswald wants to become a millionaire before he's thirty. The Blister Beetle powder is a real market opportunity.
In the beginning there is a kind of motto; I do love a romp Oswald diaries, Vol. XIV
Because the story is a diary, the sentences and words come directly from Oswald, you read his thoughts. The language isn't too difficult and the book is easy to read.
The story is told in the first person by Uncle Oswald. You get to know his thoughts and feelings.
The book is divided into 23 chapters and contains 221 pages.
Own opinion on the book:
It’s a easy to read and funny story. The only difficulty is that I don’t know all the names of the persons they are after but there are some real famous people among the victims. It’s a tall story and that makes it fun also.
Andere boeken van deze auteur:
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