"The novel isn't especially shapely, but it's been scrupulously researched, strongly imagined, and painstakingly hammered together: those who plunge headlong into its dark waters will not soon forget the experience. (First printing of 40,000; Book-of-the-Month alternate selection)"
Comparisons with Melville and Conrad will occur to readers of this pungent tale of perilous maritime adventure—a notable departure for the author of Exiles (1997), etc. But the story is also about family unhappiness, its closest analogues (as the last line implicitly acknowledges) to be found in Faulkner's brooding studies of overweening ambition, pride, miscegenation, and madness.
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