MONSARRAT AT SEA by Nicholas Monsarrat


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True stories (some lightly fictionalized) of Monsarrat's sometimes nightmarish and grisly North Atlantic stint as a Royal Naval officer on convoy duty in WW II. The collection includes three complete memoirs--H.M. Corvette, East Coast Corvette, Corvette; the stories ""H.M.S. Marlborough Will Enter Harbor,"" ""The Ship That Died of Shame,"" and other pieces; and a vivid chunk from his autobiography, ""Monsarrat--sailor, surgeon, scribe, sexton."" Aside from the not included The Cruel Sea, by far his most impressive and humanized effort, the pieces arranged here are his sea works most likely to endure. The Corvette novels are mainly assemblages of notes, pointillism of a casual and ingratiating high excellence, at times amounting to little more than an intense Picture of boredom. Often, nothing happens. But when it does, the tightly withheld and prepared for explosions go off like oil drums. Monsarrat's characters are steadfast, sensitive, gallant, and not really engaging, but about them the ship's operations are ringing clear. The most amusing moment is when Monsarrat sighs that 262 copies of his book H.M. Corvette have been sold to his shipmates by a seaman on board: ""How can you deal severely with a man who has just asked you for your autograph? . . . severity melts like snow in the sun.

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 1976
Publisher: Morrow