Nine men aboard an old Caribbean schooner drift in search of the fishing grounds of their forefathers, to find only a modern world in which they have no place. This powerful story of the sea is also a resonantly symbolic account of the relations between man and nature.Nine men aboard an old Caribbean schooner drift in search of the fishing grounds of their forefathers, to find only a modern world in which they have no place. This powerful story of the sea is also a resonantly symbolic account of the relations between man and nature.Read Less
This is a great prose poem written long ago. Peter Mathiessen, one of the Paris Review founders, is still publishing. He has had at least two recent interviews with Charlie Rose. For anyone who loves the Caribbean and sail cruising there, this story of a native turtle capture vessel will have resonance. The book was in good condition, the print is a little smaller than I remembered. I had first bought an inprint paperback edition from BN, and found the print too small. Of course, I first read the book about fifty years ago.
Oct 10, 2007
an unusual and poetic work
This is a magnificent novel, surprising and fresh in almost every respect. The placement of words and sentences is eye-catching and perhaps a bit confusing initially. It becomes a highly effective means of telling the story, adding a poetic quality. There are no quotations. At first, it can be hard to determine who is speaking. However, this becomes easier as the story progresses and even forces the reader to pay closer attention to the characters? traits. The tale is really told through dialogue, with very clear, sparse prose in between. Repetition and inversion are successfully employed, such as ?The ship rolls, the ocean booms. The ship booms, the ocean rolls.? The ease with which the words flow makes this an enjoyable experience. Nautical terms abound. It?s difficult to say if the characters are likable. The characters each have moments in which they appear funny and kind hearted and then others when they are downright nasty and foul. True human nature, I suppose. The dialect is easy to pick up and is consistent throughout. It is a crucial part of the overall atmosphere. The trash and waste in the water is sad, but probably accurate. The whole culture of the Caribbean is discussed, from the coast of Nicaragua to Jamaica. The last quarter of the book takes a few well-executed plot twists and the momentum picks up amazingly. After meeting the ?pirates,? it is impossible to put down. The story is fascinating for its characters and the picture of the difficult life of turtlers. Head and shoulders above At Play in the Fields of the Lord, though that is a good book. This novel stands alone and is immensely satisfying.
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