Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Master of the Short Story meets Mérovée

When, in a night during WWI, H. H. Munro told a fellow English soldier to “put out the bloody cigarette,” it was too late. The light signaled the target for a German sniper.

Saki (Munro's pen name) wrote brilliant short stories, witty, full of humour and mischief. His style was succinct, precise and elegant. Those who like quality lit and haven't read Saki are in for a treat.

One of his most prominent characters is the iconoclastic Clovis Sangrail. In one story, Clovis decides to write a letter and sign it as Clothilde. This choice of names intrigued me a bit the first time I encountered them.

Prior to picking Saki, I had just read Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a book full of conspiracy theories, secret societies and wishful thinking. It puts forward the ludicrous theory that the “Saint Grail” actually referred to a bloodline that included the Merovingian dynasty and continued to this day and age. Not to be taken seriously, but a readable whodunit nonetheless.

I couldn't help remembering that Clovis I was the Merovingian king that united the Frankish tribes and converted to Roman Catholicism. It is said that the conversion was spurred by his wife, Clotilda.

Coincidences aside, the pleasure of reading Saki is only undermined when you realize you have read (and re-read) it all, and there's no more to be had.


Anonymous said...

Found this, interesting so far, but how in the world did you find the name safira?

Adriano Nagel said...

Safira means sapphire in Portuguese, there is nothing to it besides being short.

It was far from being my first choice, but you know what the .com namespace is like.