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To the White Sea Hardcover – 14 Oct 1993

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Trade); 1st Edition edition (14 Oct. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395475651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395475652
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,163,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

James Dickey, acclaimed author of Deliverance and numerous volumes of poetry, died in 1997. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It's the end of the Second World War in Japan; he's a rear gunner in a B29, tough, single-minded, calm, calculated. The story is of his escape from his aircraft, his escape through the firestorm of Tokyo under American bombs through a territory filled with enemies who would castrate and decapitate him as soon as they recognised him.

The prose has a crisp brilliance that is always fresh and never overwritten. The story is alive with the tension of the moment and with recurrent reflections of memory. The whole is so involving that this is one of those rare books that is difficult to put down, and I couldn't, moving from sympathy with the narrator to growing distaste, from hoping that he can evade capture to wishing that he soon meets his end.

There are some buts, though. Some of the turns of the plot are implausible, and the characterisation is a little uneven. There are a few trails laid, leading us to think we will learn more about why the hunted Alaskan hunter has become the man he is; but we don't.

The end, for me, was the disappointing part. I found it mystical, fantastic and pretentious, a bathetic anticlimax. For five captivating hours I couldn't put it down; when I did, I suddenly wondered if the nightmares that could come from being inside the skin of this horrific character would be worth (truly exhilarating) reading.
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Format: Hardcover
The plot starts off interestingly enough - an American airforce pilot stranded in Japan near the end of WW2. However, the narrative gets painfully boring. It is like reading a step by step account of every detail of someone's day, including all the mundane details that you don't want to know. All of this is intertwined with the narrator's recollections of his youth, spending his time hunting in Alaska. A very boring and tiresome read.
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Format: Paperback
Dickey continues his examination of men in action in the Homerian mode which he began with "Deliverance" (see my review). But while Deliverance was a novel about everyday nice guys in dire straits and how they cope under pressure "To the White Sea's" protagonist is a truly dangerous, nasty piece of work who is always and only out for number one whatever the dircumstances.Muldrow, the, er, hero, is shot down over second world war Japan. He has already learnt about survival in harsh conditions having been brought up by his equally hard boiled father in the wastes of Alaska. Muldrow's only hope for escape and survival in a hostile world is to head for the islands of northern Japan where he knows he will find similar conditions to those of his childhood Alaska.
It is as we follow his adventures while he slowly makes his way north that we begin to learn just how dangerously singleminded he is.
In simple, stark, precise prose Dickey gives us startlingly visual, hair raising scenes and episodes. The confrontation with the blind ageing samurai is depicted with stunning vividness.
Dickey knows how to create suspense and time and time again even though we are growing ever more distrustful of the protagonist's
"humanity" he places him (and us) in nail biting situations.
Of course, in the end, as in all great tragedy, the leading character falls prey to his hubris and hamartia. Ironically, here, it is largely our "hero's" love of animals (not, obviously, of humans!) which does for him.
A truly fine study, then, of a psycopath which is beautifully razor sharp, written in crystal clear prose with not an ounce of posing or posture.
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