- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (14 Oct. 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1841954942
- ISBN-13: 978-1841954943
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Discovery Of Slowness Paperback – 14 Oct 2004
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"This is both a wonderful historical novel and a spell-binding individual portrait ... This is a marvellous translation of a masterly work." (The Observer)
"Time, action and vision - a magical hat-trick and one that this translation pays faithful tribute to, capturing grand adventures like a detailed painting." (The Scotsman)
"Nadolny brilliantly sets the narrative pace to the rhythms of the frozen landscape, and to the 'slowness which is bred by hunger." (Robert MacFarlane)
"Sten Nadolny shipped us into beautiful, fatal Arctic wastes with his spellbinding novels." (Boyd Tonkin)
"Slow movements of emotion and plot pull the reader expertly in, and the book with its self-consciously ponderous charm, offers all the pleasures of the best historical fiction." (Daily Telegraph)
About the Author
Sten Nadolny (b. 1942) was a historian and film-maker, before writing four novels and two collections of essays. The Discovery of Slowness (1983) is regarded as his masterpiece. It has been translated into all major languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide, and was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. Sten Nadolny lives in Berlin.
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Top Customer Reviews
In the case of The Discovery of Slowness by Sten Nadolny my conviction is emphatically reinforced.
Based upon the life of famous 19th century explorer John Franklin, Nadolny portrays over fifty years of history. Credited with finding the Northwest Passage Franklin’s remarkable determination for discovery encompasses naval battles, shipwrecks and starvation in the Arctic.
Opening in the village of Spilsby, Lincolnshire, Nadolny introduces the early years of John Franklin’s life. A painstakingly slow and rather awkward boy, he is given more to a mental reflection of the world rather than an active participant within it.
As John enters his youth the slowness that sets him apart from his peers is ever present. Bullied at school and born into an affectionless family typical of the time, John feels an overwhelming affinity with the motionless sea.
With each progressive chapter Nadolny tells of John’s first sea voyage and his subsequent experiences in the battles of Copenhagen and Trafalgar.
However, crucially Nadolny recognises the material’s potential for being more than just an account of a man’s ascent to the greatness he is destined. Moreover, The Discovery of Slowness is far more a universal experience of an innocent trying to find meaning in a world during one of its most traumatic periods.
Soon John meticulous slowness is proved to be a valuable asset in navigation and exploration. Now matured into a man he embarks on the path destined to be his making and demise, his quest for the North Pole.Read more ›
From the beginning of his life, it became apparent that he was not like the other people. He could not catch a ball, or the ideas of people who spoke quickly. He was teased, and bullied repeatedly in each new situation until his peers began to notice his strengths. It seems that once he had committed something to memory, there it would stay, he could master detail that others could not, and was able to analyse problems and come to clear, usually correct, solutions. How he set about altering his life to cope with this difference, and to overcome obstacles forms the core of the book. I will leave it to you to discover his explanation for this part of his personality, and how he came to terms with it.
I thought that Nadolny spun a series of well-researched facts into an engaging novel. The early parts of Franklin's life were fascinating and compelling. The middle part of the novel, and the end slowed down (no joke intended) for me, and left me wanting to know more. Maybe this part didn't interest the author so much. I found that the writing was a bit two dimensional in places, with not much characterisation of the supporting 'cast', but I suppose that in a factual novel, many people drift in and out of importance during a lifetime, and perhaps there isn't time for more detail. In a pure novel the author can concentrate on a small 'cast', so perhaps this isn't fair.Read more ›
The author has used the imagery of John Franklin as a slow and deliberate person from boyhood on, whose life in first the Navy and then as an explorer, then governor of Van Diemen’s Land, then fateful Arctic explorer once more was still a life lived as a deliberate and logical man who moved at his own pace to achieve great things. Interestingly the author has not focused on the last tragic voyage of Franklin to a great degree in the novel; rather, he has built up to that point of departure and fate through the actions of the man. From boyhood on, we follow John as he moves through the landscape first of the country, then the sea, the Arctic, the barren reaches of northern Canada, then to the strange land of Australia, then back to England and the Arctic once more.
The imagery of this story is the thing that really captures the imagination. While we get into the understanding of John as a boy and a man, we also ‘see’ things as he saw them, and it offers a new and unusual perspective from which to view this man whose legacy paints him as a larger than life figure. For the author, John is an ordinary man who lived an extraordinary life in an extraordinary way all his own, and it is this man whose journey we share in this remarkable novel.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Novel about arctic explorer John Franklin from his childhood to his disappearance trying to discover the North West passage, setting off in 1845. Read morePublished on 18 Jun. 2015 by Kat Weazle
On one level this is the biography of john- the man who ate his boots Franklin, and his epic adventures of discovery. Read morePublished on 20 Jan. 2014 by Michael Hewitt
This was recommended to me by a very pretty German lady, so naturally I sent for it. I can't believe how engrossed I became. Read morePublished on 12 Mar. 2012 by Neil French
I was given this book as a gift from a great friend of mine and it possibly has to be one of the best presents I have ever received! Read morePublished on 13 Oct. 2007 by Hannah Felicity