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Ship of Foolsby Katherine Anne Porter
Synopses & Reviews
Rich in conflict, passion, and political intrigue, the novel chronicles the voyage of an international passenger ship bound for Germany at a time when the world drifted toward war. First published in 1962, Ship of Fools became an immediate bestseller and was made into a movie starring Vivien Leigh.
"A phenomenal, rich, and delectable book....Its qualities far exceed my expectations....I think that reviewers may be tempted to describe Ship of Fools as a grand-hotel novel...but essentially it is a theme novel with great themes." Atlantic Monthly
"A creative feat....Ship of Fools not only crowns Miss Porter's notable career but takes and should hold eminent place among contemporary novels." Warren Beck, Chicago Tribune
The story takes place in the summer of 1931, on board a cruise ship bound for Germany. Passengers include a Spanish noblewoman, a drunken German lawyer, an American divorcee, a pair of Mexican Catholic priests. This ship of fools is a crucible of intense experience, out of which everyone emerges forever changed. Rich in incident, passion, and treachery, the novel explores themes of nationalism, cultural and ethnic pride, and basic human frailty that are as relevant today as they were when the book was first published in 1962.
The title of this book is a translation from the German of Das Narrenschiff, a moral allegory by Sebastian Brant. The author read it in Basel in the summer of 1932 when she had still vividly in mind the impressions of her fist voyage to Europe. She took for her own this simple almost universal image of the ship of this world on its voyage to eternity.
About the Author
Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) was born in Indian Creek, Texas. Though an accomplished journalist and essayist, she remains best known as a master of the short story and as the author of Ship of Fools. Her story collections include Flowering Judas; Pale Horse, Pale Rider; The Leaning Tower; The Old Order; and her Collected Stories, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Ship of Fools, twenty years in the making, was Porter's first and only novel.
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