The Master Of Ballantrae

The Master Of Ballantrae - Robert Louis Stevenson [These notes were made in 1983; I read a 1925 edition:]. There's a certain amount of good, clean picaresque fun in this book. But it is overshadowed by a gloomy attempt at psychological characterization - of a man embittered by the monstrous behaviour of a quasi-Gothic brother (said brother does a brief but rather effective resurrection act at the very melodramatic close of the book). A struggle here, once again, I think, between the symbolic and typic tendencies of melodrama/romance, and the "realist" impulse of straight psychological characterization; here moderately well combined through the medium of a somewhat unreliable narrator, but the otherwise rather engaging conclusion pushes the limits of credibility a wee bit too far, methinks. The multiple narrative form also has its attractions (alternation between the faithful family functionary and a cowardly adventurer).