Friday, October 17, 2008

Signals of Distress by Jim Crace

First sentence:

"Both men were en voyage and sleeping in their berths."


"In the winter of 1836 the Belle of Wilmington is wrecked off Wherrytown. The Captain and his American sailors flirt, drink, brawl, repair the damage to their ship. . .and inflict fresh damage on the town. Another visitor marooned far from home is Aymer Smith, a man brimming with good intentions both for the Belle's black slave cook Otto and for himself, a virgin and a blunderer in search of a wife.

Amid the haunting, monumental landscape and a wealth of characters that rival Dickens's most enduring creations, the hopes and hazards of the Old World are pitched -- unforgetably -- against the New." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a poignant and thoughtful book. Aymer Smith reminded me a little of Eugene Henderson in Saul Bellow's Henderson the Rain King. Both characters try so hard to do the right thing, and often their efforts make things worse. I liked the interactions between Aymer Smith and the townspeople of Wherrytown and the American sailors.

Date read: 9/18/2008
Book #: 68
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0140276106
ISBN-13: 9780140276107
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 1994
# of Pages: 276
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing Page

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