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The Raft Paperback – 6 Apr 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New Ed edition (6 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330418483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330418485
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,865,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Arabella Edge describes the extremes of human emotion here with empathy and panache…It’s an unusual and enlightening read’ -- Warren Brewer, Mercury Magazine

'There is a sense of immutable patterns of cyclical injustice, inequality and occasional reform.' -- Age

'You come away from it thinking of art, politics and the sheer strangeness of things’ -- Age

'immensely enjoyable retelling of facts so sensational as to barely require fictional embellishment' -- Art Quarterly

gave The Raft its top vote for the best read -- France Magazine

‘A combination of fable, thriller and comedy of manners. It is a rich, florid and pacy novel’ -- The Daily Telegraph –summer reading

‘Award-winning author Arabella Edge’s brilliant and original second novel…Page-turning and substantial, a rare combination’ -- Daily Mail

‘The Raft is an illuminating account of appalling events and people pushed to extremes’ -- Times Literary Supplement

‘The writing takes on a compelling vividness that keeps the pages turning' -- Age --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

A tale of grand passion set in Paris in 1818, Arabella Edge’s second novel is inspired by the story of Théodore Géricault and his extraordinary masterpiece The Raft of the Medusa. Aged just twenty-one, Géricault is feted at the prestigious salon for his painting Charging Chasseur. Seven years later – lovesick and distracted by his secret affair with his benefactor–uncle’s wife, Alexandrine – he is still desperately searching for inspiration for his next work. Then he hears about the French frigate Medusa, wrecked off the west coast of Africa. With a hundred and fifty souls abandoned on a makeshift raft, rumours of madness, murder and cannibalism horrify the French public but fascinate Géricault; when he manages to track down two of the raft’s survivors to discover what really happened during those fifteen days at sea, he knows he has finally found his subject. ‘This is a marvellously rich and pacy novel about the gestation of a masterpiece . . . Arabella Edge weaves a combination of fable, thriller and costume comedy of manners’ Novel of the Week, Telegraph

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Arabella Edge shows a great maturity of style and technique well suited to the telling of the story inspired by the French painter Gericault of his investigation of the shipwreck of the Medusa off the coast of West Africa. It is a compelling story of the struggle for survival of 150 souls barely floating on a raft cast off by the remaining crew and passengers and left to fend for themselves. The historical accuracy of the time, knowledge and attention to detail are both informative and impressive. I look forward to Arabella's next novel!
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By SAP VINE VOICE on 9 Dec. 2007
Format: Hardcover
What an epic! This is a compelling read. I read this in just two sittings. Not because it's short, but because I was engrossed. Like the protagonist Géricault, I was quickly obsessed with the shipwreck of the Medusa and with his attempt to capture its horrors on canvas. His many trysts with his "step-aunt" Alexandrine are also handled nicely. When this affair was unveiled very early on I thought that perhaps it would be to the detriment of the 'real' story, some overbearing romance that was included to 'sex up' things. I was wrong. Géricault's private life wasn't a distraction at all. Alexandrine wasn't some one-dimensional love interest. I enjoyed the scandal!

Edge's language is very poetic, too. It flows freely and only rarely did I stumble and have to re-read a sentence. If I had one criticism, and this is obviously a very subjective thing, I think that sometimes her metaphors and similes ran away with themselves. They sometimes became very ambiguous and difficult to pin down and picture. Another (again, slight) criticism I have is that this book isn't necessarily about the raft from the shipwreck of the Medusa; it's about the artist Géricault's attempt to paint it. There are very few 'first-hand' descriptions of what took place on the raft from the survivors whom Géricault talks to.

Beautiful book. Very enjoyable read. Four-and-a-half stars.
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