The Ocean Paperback – 7 Oct 1999
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From the Back Cover
"Hanley is a chronicler of nomads and potential escapes, a writer who travelled the unstriated spaces of the sea and consciousness... using the language like a good clean cyclone"
When the Aurora goes down, all on board must abandon ship. Curtain, a sailor, finds himself stranded in a lifeboat on the open sea with four men, one of them an old priest. He must assume responsibility for them, tend to the ailing priest and ration the meagre supply of food and water.
The men respond to the horror of their predicament in different ways. Curtain goes on carrying out his duties mechanically, without a thought for himself. Another talks endlessly of his broken marriage to the woman who he fears is dead. Only the priest seems to be able to accept their helplessness and face the possibility that they might not be saved.
The strengths and weaknesses of these men and their private thoughts and dreams are explored as the days pass, the water runs low, the priest's life fades and no sign of rescue appears. Human frailty in the face of the demoralizing power of the sea is at the heart of this harrowing masterpiece.
"There are some writers who seem to have to a private path into people's souls. They lead you there through unfamiliar streets... And yet, when you have arrived, there is no question that you are there... James Hanley is such a writer"
New York Times
"It would be fitting indeed if the majority of his courageous oeuvre were restored to print before the century that he despaired of and 'sang' so hauntingly has run its course"
Bruce Allen, Kirkus Reviews--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
JAMES HANLEY, novelist, short-story writer and playwright, was born in Dublin in 1901 and brought up in Liverpool. At thirteen, he ran away to join the Black Watch Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and fought in the First World War. He spent nine years at sea, and this profoundly influenced his writing. His second novel Boy (1931) was prosecuted for obscene libel, and this gave him a notoriety that may have led to the unjustified neglect of his powerful and starting work. He died in 1985, leaving a body of work which included 31 novels. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.