Resolution: a novel of Captain Cook’s adventures of discovery to Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, through the eyes of George Forster, the botanist on board his ship Hardcover – 1 Sep 2016
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Praise for The Potter's Hand (2012): A rich and rather wonderful novel... It is one of these books which gives the impression of having matured in the imagination for years. One can't, in a short review, do justice to its abundance. It is a cornucopia of a novel... wide in scope, rich in detail, and deep in understanding - <i.Scotsman; Full of fascinating historical detail... [A. N. Wilson's] most obvious fictional flourish, which sees a Cherokee transported to the potteries, is as incredible as it is romantic... a rather magnificent achievement - Daily Mail; This is a splendid story, vividly told Economist
Praise for The Book of the People (2015): Believe it or not, this is a work of genius - The Times; Wilson's delightful and unexpectedly moving book is characterised by intellectual humility -New Statesman; An elegant and insightful book --The Independent
From one of our leading novelists and historians comes a breathtakingly vivid novel that recalls the three voyages Captain Cook made to the southern hemisphere, culminating in the last, fateful expedition on which he was brutally murderedSee all Product description
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WOW what a journey! I had learned a little of Captain Cook and his journeys but not from the eyes of someone on board his ships. I think this premise worked really well as it allowed you to see more of the man behind the image and the everyday detail that official biographies might not see. It’s a relatively short work at only 275 pages or so, but that just makes it flow even faster. Sorry I promised myself I would not include watery words or idioms in this review but it’s hard not to!
I love ships. LOVE them so this was a great journey for me to go on as I would have loved to have done such a journey in real life. I did feel the passion and the detail could have been more evocative. The writing didn’t flow as much as I would like – it did read as history book at times but that’s only a small niggle as overall the whole concept of the journey and the significance of it all took over.
This novel will certainly get you googling and looking up maps – it would be rude not to as it demands further exploration (sorry again) Book Ahoy!
The book at hand picks up, and resolves, the untidy story of hard-drinking Maureen O'Donnell, who has known some good, and some bad, luck in her time. She is currently finding her life difficult: as a result of a generous gift from her former, murdered, married, therapist boyfriend, Douglas Brady, she owes more money in back taxes than she now makes on her job selling bootleg cigarettes in Paddy's Market. Her abusive father Michael has again shown up in town, destabilizing her hard-won sanity; Angus Farrell the psychologist who brutally murdered Doug - in Maureen's apartment-- is soon to go on trial for that murder, and another, with Maureen as star witness. And she has chosen to get herself involved in the untidy life of another unhappy family, that of Ella McGee, former prostitute, now an elderly stallholder at the same market as Maureen: the older woman has taken her son to small claims court over unpaid wages; she turns up beaten in Albert Hospital.
The tales, grim and dark, somehow resolve themselves happily for Maureen. They present us with exciting courtroom drama; illegally imported Polish sex slaves, yet again; a Scottish wedding in a fancy hotel on Loch Lomond, apparently a body of water not nearly so benign as the famous old song would have us think; and an explicit, vivid incestuous rape scene that may be a bit much for some readers. Fortunately for all concerned, the darkness is plentifully leavened with Mina's exhilarating love for and knowledge of her city, and dry wit. For example, listen to her set her scene: "Usually Glasgow's weather vacillates between freezing rain and not-so-freezing rain but sometimes, on a five-to-ten-year cycle, the weather turns and the city doesn't know itself. This was such a time. Unconditional sunshine had arrived one week ago. Virulent, fecund plant life had sprung up everywhere: trees and bushes were heavy with deep green leaves, growth appeared on buildings, between cracks in the pavement, on bins. The city burst into life and everyone began to farm their skin. Water-white cheeks and necks withered and puckered with relentless exposure. Casualty departments heaved under the strain of sunburn and heat stroke. Everyone in the unaccustomed city was dressing as if they'd woken up naked in a bush and had to borrow clothes to get home: old women wore young women's summer dresses, vest tops were stretched over belly rolls, short sleeves showed off straps from industrial bras. Every night felt like Friday night and parties went on too long. Fantastic blood-alcohol levels were attained by conscientious individuals. Everyone was dangerously out of character." Mind you, this book surely isn't everyone's cup of tea, nor thimbleful of whiskey, for that matter: only you know what you look for in a book.
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