I‘m really slanted on this book. See, it led to the resolution of a wonderful life-moment for me, just before it was too late.
I picked this up at Slightly Foxed. Published by “Everyman’s Pocket Collection”, it is truly a pocket collection, dozens of great sea stories packed into a small hardcover – pocket-sized – book.
I’ve read collections before – rather like them. A good collection will give you a wide range of selections; perfect for airplane rides – you get one you don’t like, skip to the next. And this, let me tell you, is one of the best collections I’ve ever read.
Later this week, in my Dog Ear blog, I’ll explain just why one story of this particular collection fulfilled a life-long quest of mine. In that, I love this book and will keep it always.
But let’s shift from why I like it to why you’ll like it – the stories. As mentioned, this carries the great sea stories (Poe’s A Decent into the Maelstrom, Kipling’s A Matter of Fact, Stevenson’s Merry Men) with many lessor known. And want to read sea-stories from unlikely sources? How about Ray Bradbury? John Updike? Even Kurt Vonnegut! There is even unlikely story named Titanic victim speaks through waterbed, which is about just that, and is stunningly poignant even given it’s strange (and sadly funny) take.
There are something about sea-stories, of men forced into tight naturalistic settings, isolated and removed from normal life, that make sea stories charm us in their own unique ways. Science fiction might have brought a similar sensation to a new generation but largely failed in that account, too concerned about the unique and strange to turn to the inner sole of the voyager.
And that’s why these stories are perfect, a wide-ranging story set that has something for everyone, even if you don’t know a jib from a keel. Have a look and if you like it, raise a mug of rum to me.