MY OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Daniel Hays

MY OLD MAN AND THE SEA

A Father and Son Sail Around Cape Horn
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 In an account combining elements of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and a sensitivity training group, a father and son courageously voyage around the tip of South America, challenging the elements, their sailing prowess, and their capacity to get along. The elder Hays, founder and artistic director of the National Theater of the Deaf, his 24-year-old son, Daniel, and a cat named Tiger bravely sail a 25-foot boat on a 17,000 mile, 317-day adventure, navigating the fearsome Drake Passage around Cape Horn by way of the Panama Canal, the Gal†pagos Islands, and Easter Island, and emerging unscathed (save for the cat) in the south Atlantic. Written in alternating voices in ship's log form, with frequent musings on the meaning of life, death, and the father-son relationship, the terse entries mute much of the excitement inherent in such an undertaking. But the trip has its moments: As they round the Horn fighting gale-force winds and 20-foot waves, the Sparrow is momentarily flattened, and Daniel, tethered to the boat, is swept into the ocean. Most of the drama, however, is to be found in the minor power struggles between the characters themselves: Daniel, a more laid-back type, is critical of his father's dominance; David, a hard-driving parent, must admit to himself that his powers are waning, and gradually he yields captaincy of the boat to his son. These ongoing matters tend to becalm the reader in a sea of sentiment. Fortunately, the writers also comment on germane and interesting topics such as celestial navigation, boat design, and sailing techniques. The reader must care about the Hays family to be interested in this cross between a rite of passage and a sea passage, but the voyagers deserve accolades for this hazardous journey.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-56512-102-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995




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