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We, the Drowned

by Carsten Jensen

This ambitious, dramatic and epic tribute to the rich maritime history of the Danish town of Marstal spans 100 years of warfare and suffering. Jensen's powerful prose and evocative imagery charts the journey of fathers and sons lured by the cruelty and majesty of the sea and the women left behind to cope with the fallout. An odyssey of heartache, friendship, loyalty, betrayal and intrigue with a salty grain of humour, the story asks to be read.

Extract

Why did a woman fall in love with a sailor? Because a sailor was lost, bound to something distant, unobtainable and ultimately unfathomable, even to himself? Because he went away? Because he came back home again? In Marstal the answer was straightforward, there were few other men to fall in love with. For poorer people in Marstal, there was never any question about whether a son would go to sea. He belonged to it from the day he was born. The only question was what ship he would sign on to. That was all the choice there was.
Translated by Charlotte Barslund with Emma Ryder

Parallels

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
 

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