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We, The Drownedby Carsten Jensen
Synopses & Reviews
AN INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
A THRILLING EPIC TALE OF THE SEA
“We, the Drowned sets sail beyond the narrow channels of the seafaring genre and approaches Tolstoy in its evocation of war’s confusion, its power to stun victors and vanquished alike . . . A gorgeous, unsparing novel.” — Washington Post
“A generational saga, a swashbuckling sailor’s tale, and the account of a small town coming into modernity—both Melville and Steinbeck might have been pleased to read it.” — New Republic
Hailed in Europe as an instant classic, We, the Drowned is the story of the port town of Marstal, Denmark, whose inhabitants sailed the world from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the Second World War. The novel tells of ships wrecked and blown up in wars, of places of terror and violence that continue to lure each generation; there are cannibals here, shrunken heads, prophetic dreams, and miraculous survivals. The result is a brilliant seafaring novel, a gripping saga encompassing industrial growth, the years of expansion and exploration, the crucible of the first half of the twentieth century, and most of all, the sea.
Called “one of the most exciting authors in Nordic literature” by Henning Mankell, Carsten Jensen has worked as a literary critic and a journalist, reporting from China, Cambodia, Latin America, the Pacific Islands, and Afghanistan. He lives in Copenhagen and Marstal.
This international bestseller about generations of men who go to sea and the women and children they leave behind is a magnificent tale of love, war, and adventure. Cannibals, shrunken heads, prophetic dreams, forbidden passions, cowards, heroes, tragedies, and survival--this book is destined to take its place among the greatest seafaring literature.
In the bitter winter of 1847, from an Ireland torn by famine and injustice, the Star of the Sea sets sail for NewYork. On board are hundreds of refugees, some optimistic, many more desperate. Among them are a maid with a devastating secret, the bankrupt Lord Merridith, his wife and children, and a killer stalking the decks, hungry for the vengeance that will bring absolution.
This journey will see many lives end, others begin anew. Passionate loves are tenderly recalled, shirked responsibilities regretted too late, and profound relationships shockingly revealed. In this spellbinding tale of tragedy and mercy, love and healing, the farther the ship sails toward the Promised Land, the more her passengers seem moored to a past that will never let them go.
As urgently contemporary as it is historical, this exciting and compassionate novel builds with the pace of a thriller to a stunning conclusion.
When Carsten Jensen set out by train from Denmark on a journey to the East, he expected to find lands of rich history and culture, and people
undergoing radical change at the end of the twentieth century. In this
illuminating narrative of his travels, there is this and much, much more.
Fusing social commentary and history with vibrant descriptions of people and places, Jensen brilliantly evokes the sights, sounds, and smells of these venerable civilizations. He examines the reverberations of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China, always attuned to the restless air of expectancy in the country, but also finds time for remote concerts of ancient Chinese music. He renders the pervasive sense of destruction, despair, and loss in Cambodia with particular sensitivity, wondering at the specter of death that still hovers over the landscape. And it is in Vietnam, with its palpable
legacy of colonialism and war, that Jensen ultimately loses himself in an extraordinary love affair.
At once compelling and richly informative, I Have Seen the World Begin is an incredible journey.
About the Author
As a boy in Marstal, Denmark, CARSTEN JENSEN sailed on his fathers boat, a 220-ton freighter named the Abelone. In 2000, he returned to Marstal to write We, the Drowned. He has also worked as a literary critic and a journalist, reporting from China, Cambodia, Latin America, the Pacific Islands, and Afghanistan.
We, the Drowned won Denmarks most important literary prize, while also being selected by readers of a major daily newspaper as the best Danish novel of the last twenty-five years. It was a bestseller throughout Scandinavia and in Germany, and has also been published in the United Kingdom, Spain, and France.
Table of Contents
The Boots 3
The Thrashing Rope 56
The Voyage 118
The Disaster 197
The Breakwater 205
The Boy 301
North Star 376
The Widows 383
The Seagull Killer 436
The Sailor 469
The End of the World 567
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