Eric Patterson to lead Book Discussion

On Tuesday, February 3, Dr. Eric Patterson, Dean of the School of Government, will lead a discussion of Testimonies, Patrick O’Brian’s novel of love and death, set in a beautiful but forbidding landscape in Wales.

Patrick O’Brian is most famous for his Aubrey-Maturin series of novels, which many critics have proclaimed as the greatest historical novels ever written. Testimonies, written before the Aubrey-Maturin novels, was the fruit of the three years that O’Brian lived in a Welsh-speaking farming valley of Northern Wales.

About Testimonies, the poet and critic Delmore Schwartz wrote, “To read a first novel by an unknown author which, sentence by sentence and page by page, makes one say: he can’t keep going at this pitch, the intensity is bound to break down, the perfection of tone can’t be sustained–is to rejoice in an experience of pleasure and astonishment.”

Testimonies is a hauntingly beautiful novel that stays in the reader’s consciousness long after the book has been put down. The work is only 222 pages and fully enjoyable on a first read. The Library has four copies in the collection.

The discussion will take place at 12:00 in the Library Conference Room. Distance students and faculty are invited to join in via Google Hangouts:

For more information about this or other Library Book Club events, please contact Harold Henkel at