Book Review- The Stolen White Elephant by Mark Twain

This is one of those £1 Penguin classics, that offer a cheap chance to read classic authors without having to commit to read an entire book.  I’m not sure it entirely works however.  This was my first Mark Twain, and I didn’t find it particularly mind blowing, but maybe you need to sit down with a novel of his to ‘get’ him?

The Stolen White Elephant is the main and best story in this little collection, with a couple of others just there to fill up the extra space I think.  The Stolen White Elephant is the story told by a man who was to deliver a gift of the eponymous white elephant from the King of Siam to the Queen of England- because that’s how things worked back then I guess….

Twain is renowned as a ‘humorist’ which is an interesting tag, not funny but humorous…There was only one exchange really that seemed amusing to me:

‘He would not care if they were fresh of not; at a single meal he would eat five ordinary men.’

‘Very good; five men; we will put that down.   What nationalities would he prefer?’

‘He is indifferent about nationalities.  He prefers acquaintances, but is not prejudiced against strangers.’

So if that broke you out in raucous laughter than maybe this is for you.  But it’s hard to recommend as it’s just a short story.

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