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In Hazard

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3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  163 ratings  ·  42 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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David
Jun 27, 2012 David rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
Korynn
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
David

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
...more
Eric_W
Nov 18, 2011 Eric_W rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
...more
Robert
»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
...more
Ryan Chapman
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
...more
Zuberino
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
Steve
A promising plot that devolves into random hallucinations. Strange.
John
very quick, quirky read from delightfully odd writer.
Michael Weiss
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
...more
Liza
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
Lysergius
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
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
...more
Michael
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“
...more
Jürgen Zeller
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
Carrie
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
...more
Evan
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
...more
Richard
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
Rebecca
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
Bob
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
...more
Alex
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
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.
Peter

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
...more
Gurldoggie
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.
Lee
Did not really love this short sea-tale. 1930s steamer gets in a hurricane; peep a bunch of character studies. Does, however, have cool descriptions of the pitilessness of the sea, always a good subject for a novel (see Patrick O'Brian, and then just read all of his Aubrey/Maturin novels. For real.) (view spoiler) Used book note: an E.H. (E.A.?) Mugford originally picked this up in Bournemouth on 1-7-72. Sup, ...more
Jason Brackins
bleck. why do I inflict things like this on myself. it had so much potential and it completely failed to live up to any of it.

I guess there was a little bit of interesting bits about steam ships. but honestly, why spend a chapter delving into the past of an incidental character who's never even mentioned again? why take an incredibly dramatic and exciting story and remove us from it with trivia? why wax the excitement with Boredom Polish(tm)?
Littlevision
Ugggggh this book was so boring. I decided to try and pull through it when I was about 30 pages in (and presently wanting to give up). I think I'll stick to books that involve more character development. I couldn't tell any of the characters apart except for the lemur because, duh, he's a lemur. Everybody else kind of blended together (likely because my eyes kept glazing over every few pages).
Seaofstories
I admit, the portions about the ship and storm bored me a bit. Especially since I know very little about ships and the sea, and am not all that interested. However, I understand it's importance. It was the details about the characters, past stories and such, that really interested me. I thought it was insightful and witty in some parts, dreadfully boring in others.
Emily
We read this book for a recent book club meeting. It was not particularly engaged, although it had some interesting descriptions of being at sea. On the plus side, it generated really fascinating conversation about the book as a metaphor for the time period and other unexpected perspectives on the tale.
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NYRB Classics: In Hazard, by Richard Hughes 2 3 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.
More about Richard Hughes...
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