FIDELIO: My Voyage to a Distant Shore by Rodger Bridwell

FIDELIO: My Voyage to a Distant Shore

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Better titled Barnacles and Blather. A failed executive takes to sea and the reader is all the worse for it, as clichÉs drown one another and the most interesting questions go unanswered by the author. For example, he doesn't explain why his business failed or even what sort of business it was, merely that ""a federal agency issued a complaint against our company on the most flimsy of technicalities."" True to his evasive writing style, the author gives noclue as to why he went to sea, apart from the statement, ""I became increasingly restless."" An equal mystery is why his boat is called Fidelio, rather than Lohengrin or Cavalleria Rusticana. With little or no sailing experience, Bridwell decides to cross the Atlantic single-handed, ruminating all the way. And his rockiest sailing is through literary waters. A latter-day Keats, he terms his boat ""a thing of beauty."" Chapters bear epigraphs from such as Einstein, Gandhi, Bertrand Russell, and, of course, the author himself. ""Death Lurks the Night"" is one chapter title. Even his meditations can be melodramatic: ""I am terrified and feel like a person at the end of a rope hanging over a bottomless chasm."" Adrift in the Sea of Syntax.

Pub Date: July 29th, 1986
Publisher: Dutton