Jack London’s Martin Eden is a rare book that would indulge any reader from page one. It is also rare since it does resemble the typical American writing as one can observe in the writing styles of American writers of early twentieth century. It’s a powerful book, one that will definitely have an impact on its readers and will leave a reader thoughtful in the end.
Set in San Fransisco, this semi-autobiographical work is the story of a sailor called Martin Eden who pursues ambitiously, dreams of education and literary fame. For a start with help of the girl, he falls in love with, he educates himself feverishly and becomes a writer, hoping to acquire the respectability sought by his society-girl. However, fame is a cruel mistress and takes her own time to develop but that doesn’t mean it will knock on one’s door. Martin pledges towards his writing everyday, once he feels confident of himself being an intellectual he starts writing articles, essays and stories and sends them to magazines and newspapers all across the country.
He gets rejected by most of the magazines and newspapers for quite a time until then the breakthrough appears as well as fame. Lost love turns false and Martin pledges himself back towards the sea. The plot is gripping, I hardly find plots of novels that do not fall under the sub-category of being a thriller or a crime fiction so gripping and fast. I managed to read the book in one sitting. Character of Martin Eden is important. It is well-developed by the author and does not lose focus. Other minor characters are not disappointing. The narrative is a marvellous. Every sentence seems to be in rhythm with every other sentence. Enriched in both emotionally as well as intellectually.
Martin Eden is portrayal of an artist’s life. A showcase of how one can if ambitious and hard-working can deal with society to achieve yet never the satisfaction is lost. The book is available in public domain.
4 out of 5