The Voyage of the Narwhal

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9780002258715: The Voyage of the Narwhal

A terrific tale of high endeavour and polar peril in the frozen north, and of the greater dangers that lie in wait in the seeming tranquillity of Civilization.

Intelligent, accessible literary fiction of the highest order. Superbly dramatic, the novel’s themes are entirely embodied in its action and its characters (no speeches, no authorial pronouncements).

Many an ambitious Victorian voyager was mesmerized northwards to the Pole and Zeke Voorhees, an irrepressible young man brought up on marine yarns, is one such. His own inherent magnetism gathers to him a ship’s crew as varied and as intriguing as the polar flora and fauna two of their number are so keen to observe as natural historians. Voorhees sets his ship’s course in the wake of Franklin’s infamous expedition in search of an Open Polar Sea, but the Narwhal soon runs into difficulties all its own. Meanwhile back home in a New England humming with new ideas, all is frustration for the women the brave explorers leave behind…

A terrific tale of high endeavour and polar peril that inverts Peter Hoeg’s Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow.

A brilliant portrait of a society obsessed with mapping and classifying everything under the sun – including the icy Arctic – where the
emancipation of women and the evolution of species are the next great revolutions just stirring into life; and where a man (but not a woman) becomes a man by being outward bound, an adventurer, an explorer; and where millions are eager to hear these heroes’ tales of peril on the seas, on the ice.

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Product Description:

Things were different, then: when Erasmus Darwin Wells set off for the arctic in May of 1855, he and his companions went off into the unknown. Then, the world was not charted as it is today: vast white spaces of ice were still vast white spaces on maps. Andrea Barrett's remarkable fourth novel, The Voyage of the Narwhal, follows Erasmus on his journey of discovery--a journey that takes place both within and without him. This is a tale of adventure, but of a very uncommon kind. Barrett, a scientist who has turned her acute mind to the more fluid demands of fiction, has created in Erasmus an uncertain traveller. He is already 40 and afraid he has wasted his life: the men he sails alongside, including the expedition's dashing and reckless commander, Zeke Voorhees, are his juniors. Perhaps Wells has been moved to venture north to shadow the impulsive Zeke, a childhood companion who takes with him the heedless love of Erasmus's sister, Lavinia. Danger, romance, distance, loss: in some ways, Andrea Barrett's novel is old fashioned, an epithet she would probably relish. Yet in setting her book 150 years ago, Barrett has managed to shed a clear white light on present day dilemmas, such as the exploitation of the wilderness and that of native peoples. She provides no easy answers, but the questions she poses continue to fascinate long after the reader has closed her majestic book

About the Author:

Andrea Barrett lives in upstate New York. This is her fifth book.

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Barrett, Andrea
Published by W. W. Norton & Co (1998)
ISBN 10: 0002258714 ISBN 13: 9780002258715
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
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Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
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Book Description W. W. Norton & Co, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 2258714

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