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The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanicby Allan Wolf
Synopses & Reviews
Arrogance and innocence, hubris and hope--twenty-four haunting voices of the Titanic tragedy, as well as the iceberg itself, are evoked in a stunning tour de force.
Millionaire John Jacob Astor hopes to bring home his pregnant teen bride with a minimum of media scandal. A beautiful Lebanese refugee, on her way to family in Florida, discovers the first stirrings of love. And an ancient iceberg glides south, anticipating its fateful encounter. The voices in this remarkable re-creation of the Titanic disaster span classes and stations, from Margaret ("the unsinkable Molly") Brown to the captain who went down with his ship; from the lookout and wireless men to a young boy in search of dragons and a gambler in search of marks. Slipping in telegraphs, undertaker's reports, and other records, poet Allan Wolf offers a breathtaking, intimate glimpse at the lives behind the tragedy, told with clear-eyed compassion and astounding emotional power.
Extensive back matter includes:
Morse code with messages to decipher
Bibliography, articles, periodicals, government documents, discography
"Wolf (Zane's Trace) constructs a richly textured novel in verse that recreates the Titanic's ill-fated journey, predominantly through the voices of her passengers. The speakers include John Jacob Astor, ('the unsinkable') Margaret Brown, Captain E.J. Smith, and little-known individuals whose stories Wolf draws from research and archival materials. A Lebanese refugee, traveling alone with her brother, finds first love; a tailor, accompanied by his two sons, anguishes over his broken marriage; and a gambler cons his way through the first-class passengers' pocketbooks. A ship rat speaks, as does the iceberg itself — a choice that could have become esoteric ('I am the ice. I have no need of wings./ I only need the hearts Titanic brings') — but earns its place within a composite that includes colloquial speech, introspective interior monologues, and rhyming poetry. Throughout, sequences flash forward to an undertaker's handling of the bodies ('Bodies scattered for miles, in every direction./ Bodies as far as my indifferent eyes can see'), assuring that the ending is never in question. But Wolf's carefully crafted characters evolve as the voyage slides to its icy conclusion; readers may be surprised by the potency of the final impact. Ages 14 — up. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Allan Wolf, an expert poet and storyteller, is the author of the award-winning novels NEW FOUND LAND:LEWIS AND CLARK'S VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY and ZANE'S TRACE. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
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