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Not Wanted On The Voyage

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  5,260 Ratings  ·  251 Reviews
Not Wanted on the Voyage is the story of the great flood and the first time the world ended, filed with an extraordinary cast of remarkable characters. With pathos and pageantry, desperation and hope, magic and mythology, this acclaimed novel weaves its unforgettable spell.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 2nd 1996 by Penguin Canada (first published 1984)
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J.S. I wish you'd been in my Book Club when we discussed this book. I, too, thought it was more about the internal voyage than the external one. I also…moreI wish you'd been in my Book Club when we discussed this book. I, too, thought it was more about the internal voyage than the external one. I also thought that the existence of God was a moot point, in the end (is this why he's portrayed as, basically, ineffectual?).(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Regine
Sep 27, 2010 Regine rated it it was amazing
It's one of my greatest frustrations that Canadian Literature has become almost synonymous with the name "Margaret Atwood." Every reading list that I've ever seen about Canadian Lit has been dominated by Atwood: "The Handmaid's Tale", "Alias Grace", "Oryx and Crake", etc. It's not that there's anything wrong with enjoying Atwood, (although I can't name many people that do), it's just that her work offers a very limited scope on what Canadian literature is all about.

What about Aboriginal authors
...more
Larry
May 29, 2009 Larry rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily
Jul 23, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bravissimo, fiction
fantastic. deliciously anachronistic and playful and yet deadly serious. findley wrote biblical people as PEOPLE, and not as eons-removed, idealised prophet-gods, as they naturally come across in the bible. he wrote angels as having fears and loves and moral scatteredness. he wrote singing sheep and a drunken piano. he wrote protagonists i didn't always like or agree with, and antagonists i could understand. he wrote well and simply.

i'm looking forward to finding more of his books. i thought th
...more
Laurie Burns
Jan 09, 2014 Laurie Burns rated it really liked it
We discussed this book last night at book club.
It certainly was one to get me thinking. I was brought up Catholic. The kind of Catholic who went to church every Sunday and participated very much in church activities, never questioning, just doing. For me it was just something I did. Like brush my teeth.
Then I went to university and moved away from home, but I still went to church every Sunday on campus. I took a class that first year, intro to comparative religion. It really opened my eyes, it r
...more
Calista
I'm hesitant to call a book like this one of my favourites. I love a tale about a popular story that takes a different point of view or twist, and the narrative itself was constantly enthralling and a joy to read. My main beef with this book is that something violent happens to one of the female characters, possibly the most horrible thing I've ever read happening to someone, and I almost put the book down right there and didn't finish reading. I guess it's a good indication of how much I love t ...more
Meghan Eyck
May 26, 2014 Meghan Eyck rated it it was amazing
I always forget how fascinating and distressing this book is. I have read it several times and each time it pulls me quickly into the desperate tyrannical world of Dr. Noyes and his subjugated family. The narrative provided by both humans and animals is full of emotion and provokes a much deeper reaction than just another story about a boat and a rainbow.
Wendy Baxter
Mar 12, 2008 Wendy Baxter rated it really liked it
I can't recommend this to my students (be warned) because of some fairly graphic images, but it is so well written and such an interesting idea of Biblical "fiction." Could warp your head, but only if you let it. Oddly similar to Julian Barnes History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters. Only this one came first.
kingshearte
Dec 10, 2009 kingshearte rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, effed-up
"Not Wanted on the Voyage is the story of the great flood and the first time the world ended. It is the story of who went on the ark and who was left behind. It is also the story of a divided family: of Noah, the tyrannical patriarch and God's magician; of his sons and their wives - Japeth and his victimized wife Emma; Shem the Ox and Hannah the survivor; the inventor Ham and Lucy - the enigmatic disturbing woman who is not what she seems. And finally it is the story of Noah's wife, Mrs. Noyes, ...more
Sarah
Jan 08, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars, 2008
Having read (and disliked) The Telling of Lies , oh, I don't know, in that year known as Y2K that seems so long ago, I anticipated a rough relationship with this book, another choice for Canada Reads 2008. I was so so so wrong. Like the computer glitch that was said to be capable of ending the world, the distaste never arrived. The lovely feline on the cover was the initial reason I carried this book everywhere I went, but soon I was so engrossed in the story that I was reading it in every spar ...more
Nicole
It's one thing to know, intellectually, that life as described and prescribed in the bible would have been unimaginably brutal, particularly for women, but quite another thing to know viscerally through the experience of narrative.

Likewise, you can know that petty, tyrannical god who bargains and pouts and punishes, spurting out arbitrary violence and horror, without knowing him as a character who comes to visit.

I also liked the ahistorical mix of everything -- languages, time periods, culture
...more
Lisa
Sep 13, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
Four stars only because I sobbed my eyes out reading this wonderful, but gut-wrenchingly sad book. Cat lovers especially be warned.
Chad
Sep 05, 2014 Chad rated it it was ok
I must presume that Timothy Findley smoked copious amounts of marijuana while writing Not Wanted on the Voyage. There is really no other way to explain it. The author seems to demand that we suspend our disbelief and take seriously the fantastical world he creates in retelling the story of Noah's Ark, as the novel does not really lend itself to be read as mere allegory. But such a suspension of disbelief exceeded my meager abilities. It was just too much—way, way too much—culminating, perhaps, i ...more
Katie_marie
Feb 07, 2016 Katie_marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Katie_marie by: Canada Reads
When reading a book I tend to prefer the first 3/4 of the book over the climax and denouement. The bulk of the book before the crisis builds the characters. It tends to set a rhythm and establish grooves that the characters fit into. To bring the book to a close these balances are disturbed.
Its general premise is taken from Genesis and the story of the flood but little other than the water, animals and names are parallel with the Bible. I was almost turned away at the beginning by the fantasy-li
...more
Carol Spears
Such an enjoyable read, complete with its highs and lows, good guys and bad guys and even the deaths of some of its heroes and survival of some villains.

Instead of a "review" and my thoughts I am going to scribe one of my favorite snippets here and let it read for itself:

'"You may carry the one-heads (these are pre-flood demons), if that will make you feel any easier," said Lucy -- exchanging sacks with Mrs Noyes.
"Thank you," said Mrs Noyes. "And just how do you carry a sack of demons?"
"Simpl
...more
Lisa
Aug 16, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: c20th, canada
Best of my BBRLM for June 08 was Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findlay (8). I discovered this Canadian writer in the English language bookshop in Paris on my first trip and have enjoyed everything he’s written so far. NWONTV is a fictionalised (and somewhat blasphemous) account of the Ark (as in Noah’s), showing all the problems and jealousies and discomforts and downright unChristian values that underpin the story. Yahweh is a cantankerous old fool, selfish, demanding and disagreeable. He ...more
Jason
Jul 12, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: we-own, shade-tree
More like 4.5 -- and could be a 5 on re-read. A mesmerizing, wholly unpredictable re-telling of the Flood narrative. Bleak and condemning on the issue of God and His dominion over our world, but, in all fairness, the Flood narrative, above all other narratives in the Bible, invites that assessment. I've never had it explained or justified to me in a way that made sense or was acceptable -- or even understandable. Findley takes its chilling premise and runs with it like an Olympian -- the book is ...more
Kathryn
Sep 20, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. Recommended by a friend who had read years ago after a conversation that we had had. It's the author's re-telling of what "really" happened on the Ark, and how the family that was chosen got there. My favorite character happens to be the Cat, Mottyl. Lucy comes in at a close second.

Before you start the book, please ask yourself if you are open-minded enough to be ok with a re-telling of the biblical story. Because this isn't anything like you've ever read, be assured.
Suzanne Thorson
Nov 11, 2015 Suzanne Thorson rated it really liked it
Enjoyable. I like stories that bring the bible into focus. It has been many years since I read this and doubt I can remember many of the details but I would recommend it to anyone. BTW I am an atheist but I like to learn what I can from all!
Philippa Dowding
Feb 27, 2016 Philippa Dowding rated it liked it
What was so bad about humanity that Yaweh (God) wanted to drown everyone and start again? What was Noah really like? Just how big WAS that ark, and what did Noah's family (not to mention the animals) think of the whole ark adventure? If these questions have plagued you, then you might enjoy this strange and fantastical tale about Noah's Ark.

I met Timothy Findley a few times when I was an English student, once as an undergraduate and once as a graduate student at University of Toronto in 1987. He
...more
Megs
Nov 16, 2015 Megs rated it liked it
I've actually waited a few weeks before reviewing this book, trying to sort through my thoughts and feelings on it. I still feel like that is as impossible a task as ever, so I'm just going to go for it.

I liked the idea of this book. The plot and themes throughout with interesting and engaging. I enjoyed the characters of Mrs. Noyes, Mottyl and Lucy and enjoyed hating Dr. Noyes. I think the themes of the novel were interesting and spoke with the struggles many encounter when facing off against p
...more
Jeff
Sep 05, 2015 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I generally love Findley's writing and storytelling style but what I recall of reading this book many years ago (long enough ago, in fact, that I don't remember clearly when) was how disoriented I felt at every twist and turn of the plot. I'm sure it occurred to me at the time that I might have wanted to review the Old Testament tale before re-attempting this novel but judging from the précis, it seems that a knowledge of Biblical texts wouldn't have helped. Findley's story and the characters th ...more
Sarah
Jul 10, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
My daughter learned the story of Noah's Ark in school this year (she's in Grade 1). I asked her what she thought of it and she said "it's terrifying!". Perhaps one day I'll pass this story onto her and she will again say "it's terrifying!". Any way you shake it, the story of Noah's Ark is pretty freaky but adding in the element of the actual players involved, with their own agendas and perspectives takes it to a whole new level.
I loved how it was written in the modern vernacular - even referenci
...more
Jenn
Feb 21, 2014 Jenn rated it it was amazing
I read this book for a course I took in the fall of 2009. There are only a few books that will haunt you for almost five years and this one will exactly do so. It is creepy, vulgar, blunt, with a side of rare and raw humour. It throws human behaviour at its worse in your face and shows you the depth of a person's character. Egocentrism, lack of communication and the oh-so-familiar topic of gender hierarchy within the "traditional" family and family dynamics in general are only a few of the topic ...more
Jess Johnson
Aug 15, 2012 Jess Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Williams
Aug 13, 2015 Scott Williams rated it it was amazing
I often site this as one of my favourite novels -- it both is and isn't. I first discovered it as a cynical teenager and it reinforced my burgeoning hatred of organized religion. Timothy Findley was a master. All of his novels seem to have been written specifically for me. I engage with his writing on many levels. That said, this novel, though well-crafted and engaging, is not a joy to read. The violence and abuse that permeate the plot are sometimes difficult to take. It is these that trigger m ...more
Doug
Jun 09, 2016 Doug rated it it was amazing
Superior intrigue and unique substance of the text. How all the beasts and a few chosen "humans" are allowed to board Noah's Ark . Vertebrate pairs are accounted for but I am left wondering about the invertebrates, as i have pondered as a juvenile and adult ...

I am currently reading the last 1/4 of the book: May 20. (It is fascinating but competes with the springtime weather calling to me too)The rains here are not the quantity of those floating the ark...
Brian
Jan 11, 2016 Brian rated it really liked it
I discovered this text in a bookshop in Stratford Canada where I go yearly to attend the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Mr. Findley was a performer there, long ago, and his plays have been produced at the Festival. Knowing nothing about his fiction I picked up the book because of its intriguing premise. I was not disappointed!
Mr. Findley has created a world, that due to his prowess with the tools of magical realism, seems utterly believable. From an androgynous devil, to the explanation of the
...more
Joshua Tree
Jan 08, 2016 Joshua Tree rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David
Jun 12, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
Not Wanted on the Voyage by the canadian author Timothy Findley is a retelling of the legend of Noah’s ark and the flood except that calling it a retell would not be fare to the author. Findley takes the legend of Noah and the flood, turns it around and present it to us in such an innovative original way that even though it conserves the principal factors from the biblical event, it stills manages to reinvent the story and convert it into a complete different tale. Not Wanted on the Voyage is a ...more
Brynn
Jan 23, 2015 Brynn rated it really liked it
4.5

I haven't read many desperately depressing books in my time (only The Road comes to mind off the top of my head) and I remembered as I was finishing this one why that's the case. It's the case because I don't like my emotions being toyed with to such a degree that by the end I'm sickened, shell-shocked, and sitting with my hands over my eyes.
Even so, I enjoyed it, a lot. It's been sitting on our bookshelf for years, one of the many camouflaged titles that I've been dimly aware of since befo
...more
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Timothy Irving Frederick Findley was a Canadian novelist and playwright. He was also informally known by the nickname Tiff or Tiffy, an acronym of his initials.

One of three sons, Findley was born in Toronto, Ontario, to Allan Gilmour Findley, a stockbroker, and his wife, the former Margaret Maude Bull. His paternal grandfather was president of Massey-Harris, the farm-machinery company. He was rais
...more
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“In the dark that followed - Lucy said; "where I was born, the trees were always in the sun. And I left that place because it was intolerant of rain. Now, we are here in a place where there are no trees and there is only rain. And I intend to leave this place - because it is intolerant of light. Somewhere - there must be somewhere where darkness and light are reconciled. So I am starting a rumour, here and now, of yet another world. I don't know when it will present itself - I don't know where it will be. But - as with all those other worlds now past when it is ready, I intend to go there.” 14 likes
“Complaints about reality are immature.” 8 likes
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