The Oxus Books
Katharine Hull & Pamela Whitlock
Facebook group: The Oxus Books
(contains re-publication details)
Wikipedia Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Far-Distant_Oxus
The Far-Distant Oxus (FDO) is a children's novel of 1937,
written by Katharine Hull (1921-1977) and Pamela Whitlock (1920-1982).
Escape to Persia (1938), and The Oxus in Summer (1939) are sequels.
The connection with Arthur Ransome, and J. Cape publisher, is related
in the various AR biographies and auto-biagraphy.
Hull and Whitlock were two very bright schoolgirls who came up with the
idea of a Ransome-type adventure (involving two families, and a mysterious
character Maurice) set in Exmoor, involving pony riding, as well as some rafting,
and using 'explorer' names from Persia.
The authors have a rather more direct and pragmatic approach to 'Native' facilities.
The children – with the usual absent or distracted parents – do not
hesitate to spend money on transportation, indulge in treats, and work in
interludes of amateur dramatics, etc. Occasionally the authors slip up
through incomplete adolescent knowledge. The shed-building episode in FDO is
criticized as impossible in the time allowed. All of these items were left
untouched by the editors. In addition, there are a few romantic glimmerings
presented very tastefully, also left untouched.
Compared to AR, in some ways, therefore, these 3 books are more satisfying
(although lacking suspenseful plot) to adults (and present-day children?).
The continued readership today is remarkable.
Reviewed by Alan Truelove, June, 2009
This article is ©2009 by Alan Truelove, and posted on All Things
Ransome with permission.
Back to the Index for Ransome Readers Recommend
Back to All Things Ransome