PORTRAIT OF A SEAMAN by J. Inchardi

PORTRAIT OF A SEAMAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Mr. Inchardi has been fairly successful at rendering the days and nights of the seaman's life, the casual acceptance of certain bitter events over the years, and a rug-like sense of reality that actually inures and deadens seamen. Davy runs away from home at fifteen, spends a vigorous manhood knocking about the world on boats, and when we last see him he's a flat, staling depressed man in his forties. Much of the novel concerns several seamen who are stranded in Istanbul when their ship sails without them. There is chapter after chapter of boredom as they sit haggling in bars wondering how they'll live until they find a new ship. One of their numbers, however, turns them in to the police (for an unspecified crime), but after a couple days they bribe their way out. The seamen are monolithic samples of men who turn to the sea: a huge, sad, aging Negro named Moose Johnson; the bitter, haranguing Mulligan; Eustace, a snappy cheater; Shelly, who deserts the group; and Angelo, an elegant Latin type. The style is impressionistic, lyric and barnacled with longeurs. Though the author sometimes seems as depressed as his lonesome hero, he does give us lots of sex-scampering with whores and hard-driving, authentic dialogue.

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 1963
Publisher: John Day