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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sick
Despite the fact that one gets the feeling that O'Hanlon is a terrible old big 'ead, it is compelling stuff. The serious points that are made about the British Government and its single-handed destruction of the industry should have those responsible hanging their heads in shame (sadly they are more likely to be in other non-jobs or hoovering up fat, taxpayer-funded...
Published on 1 Aug. 2006 by P. Bryer

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unique book that tails off a bit
For me this book started off as a gripping read as O'Hanlon describes his struggle to find his feet and his stomach in a mounting Force 12 gale. I also bought into the tensions he must of felt in justifying his presence amongst the crew who work hard long shifts in such appalling conditions.

Somewhere about halfway through the book however I realised that,...
Published on 3 Aug. 2011 by E=MC5


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sick, 1 Aug. 2006
By 
P. Bryer (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic (Paperback)
Despite the fact that one gets the feeling that O'Hanlon is a terrible old big 'ead, it is compelling stuff. The serious points that are made about the British Government and its single-handed destruction of the industry should have those responsible hanging their heads in shame (sadly they are more likely to be in other non-jobs or hoovering up fat, taxpayer-funded pensions).

The early section where the author experiences mounting seasickness is a masterful piece of writing, which I had to abandon halfway through for fear that I would get trainsick for the first time in my life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from O'Hanlon - more please!, 28 April 2004
Each of Redmond O'Hanlon's books is based on a journey. This time it isnot the rainforest or the jungle that he is exploring, but the NorthAtlantic.
In his earlier books he travelled with the aid of guides and local people,and was usually the focal point of the expedition. This time he is a paidpassenger on an Orcadian trawler, going to sea in January in the worstweather of the year. He is there as the assistant to a marine biologist,and is very definitely not the focal point of this fishing expedition.
Although O'Hanlon is usually described as a travel writer, his books areas much about adversity and people's reactions to it. He's a keen observerof people and is pleasingly self-effacing - but as you start reading, youwonder if he has finally bitten off more than he can chew with thiscrew.
The trawler's skipper is a driven man. After his ships refit for deep seafishing, he has a 2 million pound overdraft that he is desperate to clearas soon as possible. He also has the best trawlerman's reputation inOrkney, and this is a good job, because the weather is so bad when theyleave that they are the only boat going out - all the others are safelymoored in the harbour.
The skipper and crew are fascinating and O'Hanlon depicts thembrilliantly. They only get about three hours sleep in every 36, and as thesleep deprivation grows, tempers fray and conversations become moreemotional, revealing and surreal at every turn. The marine biologist -Luke - is also a lifeboatman, and is equally interesting with plenty tosay about the sea and about the fishing process.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping stuff, 19 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic (Paperback)
This is a great read that takes you on an extraordinary trip into a way of life that most people overlook. O'Hanlon is such a sympathetic and self-effacing character that you can't help but root for him to survive the storm amid men who are much younger and fitter than he is. He does bang on about marine biology quite a bit, but he more than makes up for it with his depiction of the spaced-out, paranoid atmosphere on the boat created by a communal lack of sleep. Five stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking foray into the male mind, 17 Jan. 2008
By 
This review is from: Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic (Paperback)
I gave away my first copy of 'Trawler' having read it twice in succession, and have made gifts of several more since. I recommend this book, not necessarily as a factual account of a trawler outing (of which I have no experience), but as an insight into the male mind; and what a strange place it is.

A truly motley crew populate an old trawler vessel past her best, in which each character has a role from the tender nursing of the old engine by the engineer to the paying of the mortgage by the captain. The tale encompasses not only their human story, but also some of the various absurdities encountered by the fishing industry. The ship 'Noratlantean' is a non-quota trawler, which means that the crew are obliged to dump any quota species they pick up, rather than being able to sell them to other boats with a shortfall in their catch. Another reviewer has commented that this boat and its crew are unknown in the Scottish trawler fishing fraternity. Whilst I cannot comment on whether the `Noratlantean' sails from a Scottish port, if this is fiction then I am puzzled as to why the author has included colour photographs of real people, annotated as various of the 'lads' from his story. If not factual, these characters are certainly 'real'.

If O'Hanlon has modified these fellows into archetypal examples, I will forgive him for this, because he brings insight to the male perspective of this most primeval situation. Perhaps the ship Noratlantean is herself also an archetype. I can imagine this group of males, and the phenomena which take place, on a Neolithic hunting foray. It encompasses many of the struggles of life, and the consequential dilemmas in the male mind. In this extreme environment where survival depends on group co-operation, we meet fierce competition for 'alpha' position, aggression provoked by personal feelings of inadequacy (deserved or otherwise), the interplay of a team under extreme pressure and sleep deprivation, the self-torture of the most dependable character Brian who is sustained in his work by thoughts of his wife and family but also has a crisis of confidence that he is too emotionally dependent upon them... In one exchange, the captain tackles O'Hanlon (representing an archetype of a modern liberal thinker) for emasculating the male role, for obliging men to behave in a more feminine way, and in so doing making forbidden the positive achievements of masculinity along with the less-desirable. It suggests that these men are no longer allowed to aspire to being 'heroes'. It suggests that modern culture and thought has not yet found a way to allow gender equality whilst affirming the diversity of gender roles. Just as women are now expected to have careers based on the male pattern (as well as being mothers), the male role has also not been explored and affirmed. Whether you agree or not with this perspective, it provokes thought and discussion, as well as being a compelling read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I like this book, 15 Aug. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic (Paperback)
O'Hanlon's latest book provides a good insight on a way of life that has all but died out in England and is being carried on in the outer fringes of Scotland.
If it's thrill and spills that you're after, there's plenty about the risk, the fear, the sleeplessness and the graft of distant water fishing. And though the gonzo style tends to meander a little, there's also plenty of humour, which O'Hanlon is happy to be at the centre of.
This is a good tale and one that needed to be told, as the pressure on fishing grounds and EU politicking continues to drive brave men like the crew of the Norlantean out of business.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the seasickness, 23 Nov. 2003
By A Customer
During the opening chapters I started to feel queasy with O'Hanlons descriptions of the fishing vessel on the turbulent North Sea.
This is a wonderful book. You really learn to appreciate and understand the life of a trawlerman, and learn a lot of marine biology on the way. The O'Hanlon trade mark humour is always in play, with the long suffering author constantly teased by the trawlermen who nickname him "Worzel".
Particularly touching is the portrayal of Luke, O'Hanlons young marine bioligist friend and part time trawlerman and lifeboat crewman. The growing affection between the two men is perhaps the finist thing in the book.
The book has some fantastic digressions by O'Hanlon, many delivered when he was unable to control his tongue from sleep exhaustion.
However, I do wonder how O'Hanlon managed to so accurately record these conversations without apparently using a notebook or recorder? Artistic licence perhaps? We need to be told !!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid, fascinating and hilarious, 1 Mar. 2006
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This review is from: Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic (Paperback)
If you've read other O'Hanlon books, you'll be familiar with his easy style, and his careful recording of not only the environment into which he has plunged, but also the effects on himself and his companions. In this case, the environment is both extreme and fascinating. Joining the crew of a North Sea trawler, he is expected to fall in with the rigours not only of Force 12 north Atlantic weather, but also the hard living, sleep-deprived community of fishermen. An excellent read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unique book that tails off a bit, 3 Aug. 2011
By 
E=MC5 (Lewes, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic (Paperback)
For me this book started off as a gripping read as O'Hanlon describes his struggle to find his feet and his stomach in a mounting Force 12 gale. I also bought into the tensions he must of felt in justifying his presence amongst the crew who work hard long shifts in such appalling conditions.

Somewhere about halfway through the book however I realised that, unlike his other books, O'Hanlon was seriously getting on my nerves. Basically I didn't give a stuff about his increasingly sad attempts to be scientist Luke's buddy. The conversations with Luke and his bloody doctorate or his need for a good woman just went on and on. I also thought that too much of the biological musings seemed to revolve around the author's obsession with sex and his puerile fascination with sperm.

And italics! About a quarter of the protracted dialogue was in italics as though everything Luke said was laden with meaning that the reader could not ascertain themselves by reading the mere words. Maybe this style was an attempt to convey paranoia, I dunno. I'm also sceptical of how much of the intensely written dialogue could have been captured at the time..

It really is a unique book and a courageous exploit but it would have definitely benefitted from 'Worzel' being cast adrift after about a week.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ALL AT SEA AUTHOR-READER SINKS GOOD BOOK, 29 Nov. 2003
Just when you thought travel writers had exhausted their subject matter - like, dare we say it, the dwindling north Atlantic cod supply - O'Hanlon breaks waves with an unusual, and quite remarkable voyage of self-discovery on an Aberdeen fishing trawler. It's ironic to think that the "mad and seasick" writer left his "safe, warm house in peaceful Oxfordshire" to endure this cold, cruel sea hardship so listeners can enjoy a little escapist adventure in the comfort of their favourite fireside armchair. But Michael Palin he is not. Reading the book himself, O'Hanlon's flat, breathless tones become monotonous and his amateur dramatic attempts at characterisation with a dreadful Scottish accent is simply dire.
Nevertheless, it's a fine fisherman's tale that will make you appreciate your next haddock supper.
Kelvin MacGregor, The Herald, Glasgow
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is not a fact-finding mission, 20 Oct. 2004
By 
Jan (LONDON United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic (Paperback)
There is ecology and political content in this book but you have to find it by inference not overt statement. O'Hanlon is not an investigative journalist, a fact-finder or reporter, he is an adventurer with a a lust for new experiences and a lurid, stream of consciousness style of writing that you either can't be bothered with or find completely addictive. If the latter this book will take you on a journey you won't forget, make you laugh and restore your belief in the sheer determined guts of human beings. The guys on this boat are desperate, driven and believable - O'Hanlon succeeds in making you feel you are there with them in a trip that is sometimes like a dream and sometimes a nightmare.
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Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic
Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic by Redmond O'Hanlon (Paperback - 3 Jun. 2004)
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