MAN BOOKER 2016 LONGLIST SERIES
As it now been a part of my routine leading up to reading a new book every new week I searched for “reading sessions” of Ian McGuire but I couldn’t find any. I am not sure if it is the decision of Ian McGuire or the publishers Henry Holt and Co. But, eventually I proceed to read the first book as a part of “Man Booker 2016 Longlist Series” with very minimal context on what to expect.
Book #: 29
Title: The North Water by Ian McGuire
The book was set during the period of turbulence that whaling industry was going through – late nineteenth century. Even though conversation between the characters go “petroleum can end but whale oil will stay in end”. What happens eventually to whaling industry and how petroleum took over the world is irrelevant to the story.
The basic plot of the book is a voyage on Volunteer with some interesting characters – some you root for, some you absolutely hate and some you have no opinion upon. The underlying theme is simple – how these set of 38 voyagers on this ill-fated ship had to encounter hardships in their pursuit of whale oil.
The best part of this novel from Ian McGuire lies with its characters. The characterizations are written with a lot of detailing and the motive of every character to ‘do-what-they-do’ has been established excellently. But, the problem with the book is it offers very little exciting from what you have already read or seen in any of Sea voyage disasters.
Overall, Ian McGuire’s The North Water has moments that occasionally evoke the excitement of what happens next. But, the brutality of conditions and how individual characters respond to them makes it an interesting read.