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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Voyage of the Narwhal

I'm a bit behind on my reviews and feeling somewhat overwhelmed. To keep from going crazy, my next few reviews will be much shorter than usual. I promise to get back to my "regular" reviewing style asap.


The Voyage of the Narwhal
by Andrea Barrett
audio book: 13.25 hours


This is the story of a fictional Arctic expedition in the 1850s. The main character, Erasmus, is in his early 40s and feels that his life has been one failure after another. When young family friend Zeke decides to travel to the Arctic in search of a lost exploring expedition, he asks Erasmus to travel with him. Erasmus sees this as his chance to finally succeed at something and decides to go. The voyage doesn't go as planned however, and the crew soon realizes that Zeke is really out to make a name for himself rather than find the missing explorers.

Eventually Erasmus makes it back home but the story doesn't end there. Instead it follows the reaction of his family and the town in general to his return and his physical and mental recovery.

On the whole I enjoyed the book but I did feel that it bogged down in places. But then something happens near the end of the story that I totally did not expect, and I was completely drawn into the it again. In fact, that final few chapters made all the slow parts worth it for me.

In the end I must say that I liked this book but I didn't love it. The ending was great though, and that made up for some of the other problems.

I heard of this book from Dawn at She Is Too Fond of Books in a comment she made on my Friday Finds post back in December '08.

PS. I forgot to mention that the narrator of this audio book was George Guidall. I've mentioned before that he is an excellent narrator and his work on this book was no exception.

7 comments:

Ti said...

My husband asked me to recommend a book to him. I know, stop the presses!!! My husband? Reading? This is the book that I handed to him. We'll see how he likes it as I have not read it myself but it sounded like something he'd be into given his Deadliest Catch/ships in trouble addiction.

Heather J. said...

Ti - Has he read the book by the Deadliest Catch captains the Hillstrand brothers?! My husband LOVED that book.

Not so sure the Narwhal book is what he's looking for though ... you might also suggest the Shackleton book THE ENDURANCE or Kelly Taylor's THE LOST MEN - they were much better books IMO.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I haven't yet read this one (I still think I will ... one day!). The Barrett I read was THE AIR WE BREATHE ... also slow to develop, but I liked the writing.

Did the author narrate this one?

p.s. don't stress about shorter reviews! I'm sure you have a lot of prep for you book club panel :)

Heather J. said...

Dawn - Yes, you mentioned that in your comment, but I think you are the first who recommended the Narhwal book. I think someone else told me about it too but I can't find a record of it anywhere.

and thanks for cutting me some slack - I really need it right now!

Heather J. said...

Dawn - I forgot to answer your question - no, the author did not narrate this. I wrote a bit about the narrator in my post - he did a great job.

Justin Narin said...

Thanks for your review if not for your blog i do not think i will ever have read or even heard about this book.


Freedom Debt Relief Review

Heather J. said...

Justin - Glad to be of assistance. :) All kidding aside, I love showcasing books that other bloggers aren't really focused on - there are SO MANY great books out there!

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