Thursday, August 02, 2012

The Castaways by Conor O'Brien


One of the things you simply can't beat a real bookshop for is the gentle and honourable fun of browsing: the possibility of coming across something you didn't even know you were looking for. Like this 1946 children's book from a bookshop in Alton today. I have never heard of the author, Conor O'Brien, the Dublin publisher is new to me as well, Browne and Nolan, the illustrator Brigid Ganly is also previously unknown to me and I have no idea who did this fantastic jacket signed only with initials, RBC(?). It's possible that the dustjacket is actually initialled RBG and I can find a few Internet references to an artist called Rose Brigid Ganly but they don't tie up very well as yet. The author, it seems, wrote a number of what seem to be boys' adventure yarns, particularly with maritime subject matter since, if the jacket blurb is to be believed, he was a round-the-world yachtsman himself, having taken the smallest ever boat round the Horn. I'm tempted to actually read this one!






3 comments:

Apuleius said...

"I'm tempted to actually read this one!"

Please do! If the sixth illustration is any indicator, this could be a most enticing book.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

Conor O'Brien (full name: Edward Conor Marshall O'Brien, 1880-1952) was the brother (actually half-brother - same father, different mother) to William Dermod O'Brien, whose daughter was Brigid Ganly (full birth name Rosaleen Brigid O'Brien, 1909-2002, married Andrew Ganly 1936) - so Conor actually got his niece to do the illustrations for his book. She also did the illustrations for Conor O'Brien's 'Two Boys Go Sailing'. She is mainly known as a painter now. She was a member of the R.H.A. (Royal Hibernian Academy).

Conor O'Brien was the first to sail a small boat round Cape Horn. This claim is disputed by the partisans of rival claimant Joshua Slocum, though it seems that Slocum didn't 'round the Horn' according to the accepted definition of the term.

(This information is what I've been able to glean from a book 'In Search of Islands: A Life of Conor O'Brien', by Judith Hill. Amazon's 'Click to Look Inside' function can be *so* useful!)

 
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