This popular work is not a history, and is not in 10½ chapters. It is actually a whimsically titled pot-pourri of pieces - some fiction, some non fiction - vaguely linked, with a few recurring themes ( boats, woodworm (!), religion).
2 very witty religious satires - one of the Noah myth, and one of medieval theological discourse, both written comically from the point of view of woodworm. A fascinating slice of art history relating to Gericault's 'The Raft of the Medusa' (a depiction of an infamous 1816 French Naval disaster and scandal). An interesting historical account of a 1930's Jewish refugee ship.
I was ultimately indifferent to:
7 short stories, that were very evocatively written, but which I didn't particularly see the point of. An essay on love which, though eloquently phrased, I actually thought was pretty much drivel.
The pieces I enjoyed were all in the first half of the book. Had they not been, I think I would have given up part way through.
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