Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw

This seems to be the oldest romantic comedy that I have read.

It’s a play staged during the 1885 Serbo-Bulgaria war, not really a book. It felt more like reading a script yet it was amazing. There was some confusion built in the story about who would finally marry whom but it was quite predictable.

Raina is engaged to Sergius who is out fighting in the war but she falls for Captain Bluntschli who sneaked into her bedroom trying to escape the Bulgarian troops. Sergius on the other hand shows love interests in Louka, a servant at Raina’s.

The love quarrels were cute even though it also depicts cheating by both Raina and Sergius. Some places it was quite comic, the way Catherine, Raina’s mother tries to shoo away Captain Bluntschli when he visits them unannounced or when Raina accidentally calls Captain Bluntschli a chocolate cream soldier in front of her father.

It’s a nice short one time read.

Some lines that I liked the way they are written.

  • complacency of the servant who values himself on his rank in servility,
  • naturally unambitious except as to his income and his importance in local society,
  • to live up to his imaginative ideals, his consequent cynical scorn for humanity,
  • fight when I have to, and am very glad to get out of it when I haven’t to. You’re only an amateur: you think fighting’s an amusement.

Available on Amazon Kindle Edition, Hardcover and Paperback.


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