Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan), aka “Kennon Wong” was orphaned when the Japanese bombed Shanghai in 1932, and is a young taxicab driver in Shanghai, who helps Indiana escape from Lao Che. Despite being an eleven-year-old boy, he is able to stick by Indy through his adventures and is even able to drive (since he is short, he wears wooden block shoes when driving). He is essential in freeing Indiana and Pankot’s Maharaja from Mola Ram’s psychic control. The novelization details Short Round was born Wan Li in 1927. Despite attending a Christian school, he respects Chinese mythology, and believes the baby elephant that transports him in India is a reincarnation of his brother Chu. He immigrates to the United States with Jones following his adventure. In the film, Short Round is frequently heard speaking the Cantonese dialect of Chinese, as well as English.
Having dedicated those hours to the life of the mind, I thereby earn the right to be stupid for the rest of the dayPaul Valéry
Ian Dignan Illustrations
At first it’s hard to figure out why this slim volume became such a success. It’s not a textbook, it doesn’t cover the history of diving or even much of Cousteau’s own research, and it’s not an adventure book. Though Cousteau was French, he wrote The Silent World in English as he had attended American schools in his youth, widely traveled the US, and, of course, extensively lectured in his enchanting French-accented English. Yet, The Silent World clearly reveals its author’s non-English origin and decidedly “non-English” thinking. The writing, while precise, often suggests that Cousteau frequently described a word or concept that existed in his native French, but did not directly translate into English. As a result, the writing at times seems a bit flowery and, well, foreign, and you need to read a sentence or paragraph two or three times to figure out what it actually means. Cousteau’s liberal use of metaphors, artistic nuances, poetic concepts and words that have since fallen out of currrent language only serve to make The Silent World even more unusual of a literary treat.