- Hardcover: 704 pages
- Publisher: Harvill Secker (1 April 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846550963
- ISBN-13: 978-1846550966
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.3 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 591,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
We, The Drowned Hardcover – 1 Apr 2010
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"A novel of immense authority and ambition and beauty, by a master storyteller at the height of his powers. This is a book to sail into, to explore, to get lost in, but it is also a book that brings the reader, dazzled by wonders, home to the heart from which great stories come. Meet Carsten Jensen half way and you're spellbound." (Joseph O'Connor)
"'Impressive... one of the more engrossing literary voyages of recent years... Rich, powerful and rewarding'" (Financial Times)
"Bleak, thrilling and colourful, Carsten Jensen's splendid seafaring epic brings vividly to life the adventures of generations of mariners from the small Danish town of Marstal...The community of living and dead characters offers compelling stories of war, death and adversity, but also triumph and the experience of marvels that have the quality of a legend." (Metro)
"We, The Drowned is first and foremost a novel about the sea, a novel which has practically been written in cooperation with the great authors of the nineteenth century - Conrad, Melville, Stevenson... We, The Drowned is the best novel I have read in ages." (Aftenposten, Norway)
"Manoeuvres easily between intimacy, subtlety and contagious pleasure in the greater narrative, the cock-and-bull story and the grotesque details... a counterpart to Gabriel García Márquez and One Hundred Years of Solitude." (Jyllands-Posten, Denmark)
A magnificent epic of war, the sea, and the men and women caught in its powerful graspSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
We follow Albert through nearly his entire life, and watch Knud grow up. For most of the book there is the almost ghost like narration of an unseen chorus, the "we" of the title that just adds to the novel's captivating tone. The other main voice of the author is the middle part of this huge book told in the first person by Albert himself as he quests to find his father. This is just as well-written.
There's a strong supporting cast as well including Knud's childhood friend Anton, the Terror of Marstal, Klara, Knud's slightly scary mother, Herman the Seagull Killer, and Albert's captain Jack Lewis. And then of course, there's the sea with it's promise of riches and adventure and ever-present threat of death ....
The book is an epic in every sense. It's sprawling, far reaching and encompassing a variety of kinds of stories. It's an adventure story, a romance, a coming-of-age story, a war tale, a drama, and a comedy. But what stands out is the quality of the writing. And the final pages are sublime. It may be a monster in length, but it's never dull and gripping throughout. Surely a candidate for this year's literary prizes? I cannot recommend this highly enough.
I had thought that I may have built it up too much in my mind due to this long wait but 'We, The Drowned' did not disappoint me. In fact, it exceeded my expectations and is a marvellous book. Jensen writes in a deceptively simplistic style that makes it a very easy read. Indeed, I was surprised that it was translated from Danish as the narrative flows so well in English and I think Charlotte Barslund and Emma Ryder (Jensen's translators) deserve a mention for their excellent work in this regard.
I found the subject matter utterly compelling with a selection of stories and different characters covering the period between 1848-1945. The first 200 pages were fantastic and, while it slowed a little after that, it rapidly regained pace when the character of Knud Erik became the main focus of the narrative.
The storyline covers an immense range of topics (including three major wars) but excels when it comes to examining the characters and motives of the main protagonists. The fact that I missed some characters (such as Laurids and Albert Madsen) as they fell by the wayside reveals what a good job the author has done in this regard. Jensen doesnt shy away from tales of violence, war, murder, loss and cruelty in this book and they exert a disturbingly magnetic appeal.Read more ›
If I had to find fault, it really is an epic read!
It has many virtues: It is an extremely skillfully written book which has been translated so well that it reads as if it had been written originally in English. It makes vivid word pictures. The sequence of inter-linked stories is extremely strong individually and produce a coherent pageant that engages the imagination and absorbs the attention. It makes you laugh. It brings tears to the eyes. It is extremely perceptive.
But above all this it continually eludes categorisation which is what makes it so intriguing -- it could be a history of a town; or the saga of a sea-faring community; or about the battles that men and women fight with each other because of their different outlooks. Or it could simply be about the human condition.
It is a wonderful book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Picked up on a whim, and one of the most surprising and engaging novels I've read in years. A new favourite, likely to be re-read repeatedly. Read morePublished 3 months ago by JCM
I went in a little skeptical to read this book. I largely bought it on a whim in a book store based on the cover and struggled to get past the first few pages but once I was in I... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Interesting read. Good flow. Detail excellent but not too much. Characterisations very good. Really enjoyedPublished 14 months ago by Kindle Customer
At first I found this, not difficult exactly, more not interesting. Having given up after about 50 pages (it has nearly 700) I went back to it (only because I needed something to... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Colleen
I am always searching for that perfect read. The story that pulls you in and holds you enthralled for a short time before letting you go. This book is such a tale. Read morePublished 18 months ago by M. M. Lomas
A very good read. Well written and it's format makes it perfect for just 'picking up and having a quiet read' when you can steal a bit of time to do so.Published 19 months ago by CunningArtificer