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The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket and Related Tales (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 12 Jun 2008
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'a fine introduction to a fascinating writer'The Observer
From the Back Cover
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym is an archetypal American story of escape from home and family which traces a young man's rite of passage through a series of terrible brushes with death during a fateful sea voyage. But the plot also goes much deeper, as Pym encounters various interpretative dilemmas, and then leaves the reader with a broken-off ending that defies solution.See all Product description
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Macabre details of ghastly deaths and unrelieved bloodlust, the massacre of the crew, and the casting adrift of the captain presage even more gory events. A countermutiny, equally bloody, leaves only four men alive on the Grampus. A gale, a gruesome death ship which passes them, circling sharks, and additional deaths leave only two men alive when the brig capsizes.
The second half of the account details the trip of discovery taken by Pym and the other survivor, along with an English crew from a passing ship, south to the "Antarctic Sea," a voyage in which they go "more than eight degrees farther south than any previous navigators." On this journey they encounter a monstrous "Arctic bear," more than 15 feet long, a cat-like animal with red teeth and claws, warm water with Galapagos tortoises, a series of islands inhabited by canoe-paddling natives, the Aurora Borealis, hot and milky water, white ashy showers, and a huge human figure in white, not the sights reported by later Antarctic explorers.
Poe's only novel, in the romantic tradition of sea adventures, presages the publication of Melville's Typee, which is a true story. In this case, Poe plays with the reader's sense of reality, claiming that his fictional narrative is true and that the fictional Pym had "refused" to publish it because he thought no one would believe his tale. Ironies abound, matched only by the romantic embellishments and imaginative "discoveries" in Antarctica that make this fast-paced narrative as full of tense drama as any soap opera. The abrupt "conclusion" remains ironically inconclusive. Breathless excitement and near death experiences, combined with mystical visions and inexplicable events, make this exciting narrative fun to read. n Mary Whipple
It speaks about an adventure seeker, a Mr. A. Gordon Pym. He tries to leave the luxury of his little city Nantucket, where he used to live with his father. One friend of his convinces him to travel. The first voyage was a total disaster. But he did not quit his dream. He went on yet another ... Man, it was the most chilling experience I ever had. It is not like anything you dream, it is even stranger. No goblins nor trolls appear hear, yet still, Poe can really bring the horror to your heart.
A mutiny is added to the singular experience Pym had, and then Cannibalism. And after you thought the story finished, you see that Poe starts a new story which not as impressive as the first, yet turns the attention to some other direction.
The end was a bit shaky. I did not like it at all. I usually do not like open endings. That was the only reason I gave 4 instead of 5 stars.
Overall, I would recommend you to read it in the middle of the night (if you do not have anything else to do), with a cup of tea, and with no one else around! You would enjoy it even more.
Altogether, a delightfully disturbing story. One of the best I have read.