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Friday, September 23, 2016

We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen

I have no idea where I read about this book, because it is not recently published, but I am so glad I found it, because it is the sort of epic novel that I love.  The book is about the Danish and their seagoing past.  It unfolds over nearly 100 years, from 1848 to 1945. The interwoven stories span chapters and play out in seaports all over the world, from Samoa to Newfoundland.  The men and boys who man the ships are from the town of Marstal and the women are their wives and mothers who are left behind.  It is inevitable that when your workplace is on the sea that a number will drown, and that is the back story for the fear that pervades the book.  The men know that they will likely drown and so do the women who love them.  The stories are wonderful, if a bit on the sad side at times, and the writing is fantastic.  While it is true that I have a fondness for epic novels, this one is excellent.

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