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In Hazard

3.51  ·  Rating Details  ·  206 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
The Archimedes is a modern merchant steamship in tip-top condition, and in the summer of 1929 it has been picking up goods along the eastern seaboard of the United States before making a run to China. A little overloaded, perhaps—the oddly assorted cargo includes piles of old newspapers and heaps of tobacco—the ship departs for the Panama Canal from Norfolk, Virginia, on a ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 12th 2008 by NYRB Classics (first published 1938)
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Stoner by John Edward WilliamsChess Story by Stefan ZweigThe Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy CasaresA High Wind in Jamaica by Richard HughesThe Summer Book by Tove Jansson
New York Review Books - Classics
162nd out of 408 books — 494 voters
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman MelvilleJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëTo the Lighthouse by Virginia WoolfThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Samuel R. Delany's literary pillars
40th out of 100 books — 24 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 518)
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Jun 27, 2012 David rated it liked it
Shelves: nyrb
Among countless other things—both real and imaginary—I'm afraid of water. Not drinking water, of course, but the roiling seas whose power and caprice spell certain doom for the likes of me. Because (of course) I can't swim. Complementing this missing skill set, I lack any effectiveness in crisis situations, so my chances of successfully floating until the sharks ate me are (in the most generous of terms) laughable. My inability to swim was primarily informed by a perplexity at why anyone would e ...more
Justin Evans
Apr 14, 2012 Justin Evans rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Considering it starts out like the technical chapters of Moby Dick, without bothering to tell you what any of the technical terms being used actually mean, this is one kick ass book. Hughes somehow manages to move from "here's how a steam boat's engine creates steam" to one of the better symbolic tales I've read. A few things to keep in mind, though, if you're thinking about reading it. The opening chapters really are boring, albeit boring with a purpose. So just know that. Also, it is so far fr ...more
May 15, 2008 Korynn rated it it was ok
Shelves: classic-lit
I was inspired to seek out this volume after reading the collected columns of Alec Guinness regarding his "retired" life. He said he enjoyed it highly and had re-read it and so I was curious.The library copy I found had a cover that was vaguely reminiscent of high school English. I have a strong feeling that somewhere in the world children are required to write papers on this book. It's a strange book, starting out by listing all the factual attributes of the ship, its engagement with a mysterio ...more
Sep 23, 2012 David rated it it was ok
Shelves: big-white-square

A bit of rum, sodomy and / or the lash would have spiced this up a bit. I liked Dick. Ao Ling was ok. But everyone else was pretty boring.

"At first Sukie had blazed in Dick's mind, lighting every part of it: but now already, after two days, she had contracted and receded like the opening by which you have entered a tunnel: turned more unearthily bright than the broad day, but very distant and small and clear."

"It is wonderful how the free busting of anything, especially valuable stuff, goes to y
Nov 18, 2011 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Natalie
Shelves: nautical-fiction
This book is based on the true story of the Phemius, a ship which was sucked into the circular trajectory of a hurricane in 1932. The captain’s report of the experience so intrigued the Holt Line owner that he gave a copy to Richard Hughes (A High Wind in Jamaica) who turned it into this novel.

The ship was the well-cared-for Archimedes with a very competent captain and crew. The month being mid-November, the likelihood of a West Indian hurricane was more than remote, it was unheard of. The cargo
»Die Tage von Conrads Taifun sind vorbei; jene Tage, wo Hurrikane den Schiffsverkehr so unerwartet überfielen wie die Katze die Maus. Zum einen wissen die Mäuse heute mehr über die Anatomie der Katze und ihre Bewegungsmuster – und außerdem hat man der Katze ein Glöckchen umgehängt.« (In Bedrängnis, S. 32)

Wie verhält sich der Mensch in Gefahrensituationen, wenn er sich eigentlich sicher gefühlt hat? Dieser Frage nimmt sich der wiederentdeckte und erstmals ins Deutsche übersetzte Roman Richard Hug
Jul 27, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Der Hurrikan, der im November 1932 vor Kuba wütete, war der stärkste tropische Zyklon und der einzige der Kategorie 5, der je im November stattfand. Mit über 3000 Todesopfern war er einer der tödlichsten Hurrikane des 20. Jahrhunderts.
Das Dampfschiff S.S. Phemius geriet in diesen Sturm, der sich mit über 320 km/h bewegte. Der Bericht dieses Unglücks, dass die Besatzung wie durch ein Wunder überlebte, wurde später Richard Hughes von der Reederei vorgelegt, der auf dieser Grundlage „In Bedrängnis“
Ryan Chapman
Aug 25, 2008 Ryan Chapman rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I thought a good sea adventure story might be a refreshing change. Despite a few digressions into his characters' origins that distract more than they illuminate, Hughes does his best to elevate the genre to literary heights. He certainly captures the minute-to-minute terror or going through a five-day hurricane aboard a destroyed steamer ship. The omniscient first-person narration is praised in the introduction, though I found it intrusive and, at times, cloying.

Next up in my High Seas Syllabu
Richard Hughes is known today (if he is known at all) for his first novel A High Wind in Jamaica. If his second novel is anything to go by, it should be a work of rare class. Hughes wrote In Hazard in the doldrums between the two world wars, those years of curious suspension between epochal cataclysms. The story is simple: the steamship Archimedes sails south from Norfolk, VA and unwittingly falls into the path of an unseasonal storm of nightmarish violence. After many days of non-stop danger an ...more
Dale Johnson
Jul 08, 2015 Dale Johnson rated it really liked it
A good descriptive story about the functions of a merchant vessel during a high-seas hurricane. In spite of Hughes' fiction disclaimer, the story is based on a true incident he had researched in depth.

My copy is the 1966 paperback edition and contains no other material than the story text. I understand that later editions have a more descriptive introduction that I haven't seen.

Note: Originally published in 1938 by an English author, it depicts a degree of racism between the English officers and
Aug 28, 2012 Steve rated it did not like it
A promising plot that devolves into random hallucinations. Strange.
Sep 23, 2008 John rated it really liked it
very quick, quirky read from delightfully odd writer.
Michael Weiss
Dec 03, 2009 Michael Weiss rated it really liked it
A terrifying account of an otherwise modern, sturdy, and well-kept steam freighter caught in a random, out of season, maximum force hurricane in the Caribbean. While the crew is fictionalized for dramatic purposes, this is very closely based on the true story of the Phemius, which in November of 1932 was caught in the aforementioned storm. It's crazy that things like this happen.

There are instances where Hughes tries to give us insight toward a select few of the crew members by delving into thei
Aug 04, 2009 Liza rated it did not like it
I was expecting to love this book, but sadly it's a very inferior version of the "man against nature" survival-adventure story. As Virgina Woolf said about it, between the storm and the human characters "there's a gap in which there's some want of strength", and there's also some unclear and unexciting plot developments, made more confusing by the boring, indistinguishable characters. Moreover, it's not only dated in its romanticising of the courageous seamen (not to mention the female fantasy o ...more
Apr 26, 2012 Lysergius rated it liked it
The Archimedes is a modern merchant steamship in tip-top condition, and in the summer of 1929 it has been picking up goods along the eastern seaboard of the United States before making a run to China. A little overloaded, perhaps—the oddly assorted cargo includes piles of old newspapers and heaps of tobacco—the ship departs for the Panama Canal from Norfolk, Virginia, on a beautiful autumn day. Before long, the weather turns unexpectedly rough—rougher in fact than even the most experienced membe ...more
Tammy Dotts
Dec 28, 2009 Tammy Dotts rated it it was ok
In Hazard by Richard Hughes falls neatly into some of the “man vs.” plot categories: man vs. nature, man vs. technology with a little man vs. himself tossed in for good measure. It tells the story of a British cargo ship, the Archimedes, caught in a seemingly endless hurricane as the ship makes for the Panama Canal from the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

The story, set in 1929, takes place between the two world wars, and, in fact, was originally published in 1938. The current publication
Jürgen Zeller
Jul 25, 2013 Jürgen Zeller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ich mag Geschichten die auf hoher See spielen. Der unendliche Horizont, das Gefühl absoluter Freiheit aber gleichzeitig die klaustrophobische Enge die auf den Schiffen herrscht. Die niemals in Frage zu stellende Hierarchie und das autarke Zusammenleben der Crew die aus wildfremden Menschen bunt zusammengewürfelt ist. Auf den langen Seereisen mit den vielen exotischen Schauplätzen den Traum von Abenteuer und Freiheit zu Leben ist für viele die Triebfeder auf den Schiffen anzuheuern. Das auf jeder ...more
Dec 14, 2009 Carrie rated it really liked it
In Hazard happened, more or less. The steamship Archimedes* really was caught in a Caribbean hurricane for four days, dragged along with it and deafened by it. The ship took on a thousand tons of seawater; at the hurricane’s eye, the entire deck was descended upon by masses of birds. The owners of the steamer thought that its story was so extraordinary, so fantastical, that it had to be set down in text and never forgotten. They called Richard Hughes.

Hughes did the story justice. He pieced toget
Jan 21, 2013 Evan rated it really liked it
The wind picked the skin off the waves, leaving little white pock-marks. Waves broke, and then swallowed their own foam: you could see it far below the surface, engulfed. Suddenly a squall of rain dashed across. The rain-drops bounced on the water, making a surface like the dewy gossamer on a lawn: like wool. It was as if the naked sea were growing hair.

Like many young lovers, he confused a girl with God: and he could almost imagine her now, watching him, out the the sky; watching him die, and p
Dec 21, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the cover to this edition! You can't see the other side, but it's a wraparound that manages to really capture the feel of the book without giving things away. It's a gripping disaster story about the crew on a steam-ship caught in a once-in-a century hurricaine. Hughes does an amazing job creating the world of an early 20th century freighter - describing the ship, the responsibilities of the crew, the different social classes and interactions possible on the ship - so, that when the stor ...more
Aug 03, 2010 Rebecca rated it liked it
In Hazard is the story of a steam ship in the grips of a tremendous hurricane and the struggle of the men on her to survive. It gives a gripping description of the ship being tossed and battered in the wind and sea and all of the measures taken by the crew to save her. You grow tense in sympathy as you watch the men try to make repairs to their beleaguered ship. You also watch the crew’s reaction to the fear and trials of the storm. It is interesting to see how all the men react differently in t ...more
Mar 11, 2013 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got one of those wonderful mid-60s Time-Life Books editions with the modernist cover art and cheap glue.

The second of Hughes' four novels and, as with "A High Wind In Jamaica", it concerns sea-going in the Caribbean and its capacity to provide a context for human behavior in extremis or simply shorn of civilized constraint. A merchant ship is caught in a hurricane most severe and unexpected (it being late in the season); after many chapters of slightly overwhelming technical detail we switch t
Jan 25, 2016 Chuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1929, the steam ship The Archimedes is sailing to China when the are overtaken by a sever hurricane in the middle of November. With pieces of the ship blowing off and the crew holding on for dear life it is up to Captain Edwards to keep the ship and crew afloat. This book deals with the terror and survival in a major hurricane and the feelings of the crew. This is a good book that keeps up the intensity throughout.
Howard Kistler
Apr 06, 2015 Howard Kistler rated it really liked it
An immersive read, and a well-written one. The despair, exhausting, and desperation of the sailors exudes from the text, and the characters are well defined and multi-dimensional. That the details of the disaster itself come from an actual event lends a pleasing verisimilitude to the story and anchors the many tensions of the actors within it.
Feb 25, 2014 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I don't disagree with another reviewer who remarked accurately that "a bit of rum, sodomy and/or the lash would have spiced this up a bit." For a slim volume the story did sag at times, not unlike the the Archimedes herself. However, it is hard if not impossible to write about calamitous weather on the wine dark sea and not grab at least part of my attention. A quick and passably enjoyable read.
Douglas Dalrymple
Nov 24, 2014 Douglas Dalrymple rated it it was ok
After reading A High Wind in Jamaica last year, this was a real disappointment. Though there are a few memorable passages, In Hazard is just a spotty mess.
Georges Hattab
Apr 04, 2016 Georges Hattab rated it liked it
A book enriched with nautical terms. Stale yet technical beginnings leading to an invigorating hurricane.. Highly recommended for lovers at large.
Jun 12, 2013 Peter rated it really liked it

A masterful story. The Archimedes is a cargo ship caught in a tremendous hurricane in 1929. He and her crew of capable officers and superstitious Chinese mariners are without power and are sucked along by the hurricane for five days, helpless but frantic to survive. The efforts to survive are interwoven with observations on the meaning of life. We learn that we are in the hurricane’s eye. Short and fantastic! (Historical Note: This is a “true” story of the HMS Phemius of the Blue Funnel Line; 40
Jan 26, 2014 Gurldoggie rated it liked it
A lively and heart-pounding adventure story. The descriptions of the interior workings of a 20th century steamship and the science behind a hurricane are fascinating. But I kept wanting more genuinely human characters.
Mar 20, 2016 Hendrik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Klassisches Drama auf hoher See: Mensch/Technik gegen die Naturgewalten. Nebenbei lernt man so einiges über die Technik der Dampfschifffahrt.
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NYRB Classics: In Hazard, by Richard Hughes 2 4 Oct 24, 2013 04:31PM  
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Richard Arthur Warren Hughes OBE was a British writer of poems, short stories, novels and plays.
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