In her first collection of stories since her PEN/Faulkner-winning "The Caprices," Sabina Murray confronts the manipulation, compassion, ambition, and controversy surrounding some of the most intrepid and sadistic pioneers of the last four millennia. Iconic explorers and settlers are made intimately human as they plow through the un-navigated ...
In her first collection of stories since her PEN/Faulkner-winning "The Caprices," Sabina Murray confronts the manipulation, compassion, ambition, and controversy surrounding some of the most intrepid and sadistic pioneers of the last four millennia. Iconic explorers and settlers are made intimately human as they plow through the un-navigated boundaries of their worlds to give shape to modern geography, philosophy, and science. As Ferdinand Magellan sets out on his final voyage, he forms an unlikely friendship with a rich scholar who harbors feelings for the captain, but in the end cannot save Magellan from his own greed. Balboa's peek at the South Sea may never have happened if it wasn't for his loyal and vicious dog, Leonico, and an unavoidable urge to relieve himself. And Captain Zimri Coffin is plagued by sleepless nights after reading Frankenstein, that is until his crew rescues two shipwrecked Englishmen who carry rumor of a giant and deadly white whale lurking in the depths of the ocean. With her signature blend of sophistication and savagery, darkness and humor, Sabina Murray investigates the complexities of faith, the lure of the unknown, and the elusive mingling of history and legend.
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Publishers Weekly, 2011-07-11 Most of PEN/Faulkner Award-winner Murray's new story collection (after her 2007 novel Forgery) delves into the psyches of historical explorers and adventurers, affording rare glimpses of vulnerability in those who appear invulnerable. In "Translation," wealthy 15th-century translator Antonio Pigafetta befriends Ferdinand Magellan on an expedition to the Indies and records sailors' atrocities; after reading his journal, Magellan asks him to embellish the truth and alter the course of history. "The Solace of Monsters" imagines the chance meeting of Zimri Coffin, captain of the Dauphin, and Capts. Pollard and Ramsdell of the Essex, who Coffin rescues after their ship is "stove in by a whale." "Balboa" concerns the discovery and naming of the South Sea by the famous Spanish conquistador ("Vasco Nunez de Balboa ascends the mountain alone. His one thousand Indians and two hundred Spaniards wait at the foot of the mountain as if they are Israelites and Balboa alone is off to speak with God"); standing on the side of a mountain with just his dog Leoncico for company, Balboa has a rare, and humorous, defenseless moment despite his ruthless reputation. Murray's spirited writing is rooted in humanity and creates a fine sense of the real behind the lore. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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