The Wrong Box

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Robert L. Stevenson

Narrated By: Peter Joyce

Publisher: Assembled Stories

Date: January 2012

Duration: 7 hours 36 minutes

Summary:

Victorian humour generally doesn’t time-travel well. ’The Wrong Box’ is one of the exceptions. The plot revolves around the supposed death of Joseph Finsbury who, as a youth, with his brother Masterman joined a tontine-a scheme whereby each entrant pays a fixed amount and the sum total, with interest, is given to the one who lives the longest. At the beginning of the story there are three survivors and then two - the Finsbury brothers.Joseph is guardian to two boys and a girl, Morris, John and Julia. He was responsible for the boys’ legacy of £30,000 and invested it unwisely in his failing leather business. The money has all but disappeared and, on reaching adulthood, they want their inheritance back! Uncle Joe must be kept alive at all costs. Then there is a train crash…The novel was either ignored or strongly criticized when first published, not least one suspects because of the irreverent attitude to death and its attendant rituals, subjects which commanded huge respect and veneration almost amounting to obsession from the Victorians. It is, however, a hugely entertaining story with a convoluted, complicated plot that can defy comprehension, but it is of no matter!A cast of gloriously eccentric characters certainly had a comic effect on one notable literary figure of the period. ‘I laughed over it dementedly when I read it. That man [ Stevenson ] has only one lung but he makes you laugh with your whole inside’ Rudyard Kipling.

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