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Outerbridge Reach

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  461 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Inviting comparison with the great sea novels of Conrad, Melville, and Hemingway, Outerbridge Reach is also the portrait of two men and the powerful, unforgettable woman they both love - and for whom they are both ready, in their very different ways, to stake everything.
Hardcover, Large Print, 671 pages
Published August 1st 1992 by Thorndike Press (first published 1992)
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EPIC! What a journey Mr. Stone takes his readers in this wonderful book.
Outerbridge Reach is a powerful book that grabbed my attention early and held me to the end. Stone draws his characters beautifully, but is unsparing in documenting their shortcomings. Like Moby Dick, it's a story about a man and a boat, but it's also about a quest. The main character, Owen Browne, has been leading an okay life as a salesman for a yacht company, but is also feeling less connected over time with the various aspects of his life. Suddenly he has a chance to change all of this when ...more
This is one of my favorite novels of any kind. It brings together everything I like about Robert Stone: characters with great potential and terrible flaws, a variety of approaches to love, a strong feeling for place and for different kinds of work, physical danger described in unusual poetic terms while still being frightening, very dark humor and gorgeous prose. It feels grounded and whole in a way that his books don't always achieve, even though he's deliberately writing against his grain, giv ...more
Although I can agree with other reviewers that the book is in some ways Hemingwayan, Stone's language lacked a comparably inviting luster. In addition to the dull prose, the story was predictable and the characters undeveloped and trite. The words that a friend of mine wrote in a journal required by her teacher while she was reading OLD MAN AND THE SEA sum up my feelings of the various scenes in the book perfectly, "Same shit. Different day."
Jan 22, 2008 JFKW rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who loathe the happy ending.
When a 400 page book is a page turner, it must be pretty good. I can't even bring myself to write any kind of review. Two minutes ago I read about a woman closing the door to her house. That's the ending, sucker. To read this book and cozy up to the characters is to put your consciousness inside of a gray whale calf cut away from its mother, pummeled and thrashed by killer whales for hours until it dies and is eaten.
Zachary Powell
I can't get enough of Robert Stone. His characters are complex and fallible. Like Phillip K. Dick, he weaves a lot of different points of view that change how you see each one. They have fantastic qualities and weak and despicable ones. Here, a documentary filmmaker with the ability of a cold perception stands as a commentary of storytelling itself. But there is more than that in this tale about a man against the sea. Like _Children of Light_ and _Dog Soldiers_, Stone has these unreal climaxes t ...more
good writer, but in the words of Homer J. "BORING!"
Steven Langdon
Robert Stone is the author of "Outerbridge Reach" -- a superbly probing psychological novel of three interacting characters (two men and one woman,) based on the background to and carry through of a single-handed round-the-world yachting race. The people involved are imagined vividly, the plot is taut and unpredictable and the focus of the book is credible and sharp, even as it raises fundamental human questions and dilemmas. It is an excellent novel, that I rate very highly.

Owen Browne is the l
Expert at revealing characters/character thru conversation.
I wasn't able to engage in the story or the characters though. Felt very 1950s in a unsatisfactory way for me. I have known about the author and he was an original member of the Merry Pranksters (Ken Kesey)and has won many literary honors. He recently died so wanted to check out one of his books which I had read a review of in the New York Times in the 90s'
Off to a strong start and very nautical then moves into a sort of Ancient Mariner mode that I did not enjoy so much. The protagonist is an Annapolis graduate who is at book's beginning a yacht broker who undertakes to trial a new design. Psychological issues. Recommend to anyone who likes yachts or sea stories or single-handed sailing stories.
Ann M
Starts so slowly and dully that I doubt it would ever be published these days without an already well known author. The entire first half is background for the second half. The story of an improbable sailing trip, an improbable love affair and an improbable suicide. It is serviceably written, as far as grammar, etc., but there is no foreshadowing, nothing convincing, and the attempts to include philosophy entirely flat and dull. A sheltered but gorgeous republican baby boomer wife falls for a sl ...more
Read it years ago; I think it was a Book of the Month club book I got because I didn't send back the card. I wasn't enamored of it; if I remember correctly it moved rather slowly. I do remember that I sold it to a used book store because I decided I'd never read it again. Normally when I like a book I will re-read it.
Carol Shaben
Some compelling aspects, but in the end characters and plot left me unsatisfied and somewhat irritated. I do admire Stone's research and what he set out to achieve. Provocative.
Larry Scarzfava
Once again, Stone gives us an incredible novel peopled with characters whose dissatisfaction with life causes them to take desperate action. The prose is beautiful, and the protagonist's interior ramblings as his sea voyage breaks down his sanity is, at times, flawless and superb. Surely, Robert Stone is at the top of his game here.
Read this 20 years ago and it still comes back to mind. Can't say that for many books I've read.
Joe Johnston
Apr 03, 2008 Joe Johnston rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone over 15 or so - some sex in it
Recommended to Joe by: NYT book review
One of the best novels I've ever read. Based very loosely on a true story, it's about a marketing executive for a yacht company who embarks on a round-the-world solo sailing contest and then runs into a LOT of trouble. Meanwhile, his wife is back home, dealing with her husband's quixotic quest and the attentions of a documentary filmmaker who seems pretty cleary based on Errol Morris. Terrific book.
Linda Rehberg
Ever notice there are just some books that you read at the exact right time in your life and they hit you with a wallop? This was one of those books for me. It really, really got to me and I felt as if I was on that sailboat beside him, wanting desperately to change his course. I'd like to reread it one of these days to see if would still have that powerful effect on me.
Steve Woods
This is a fascinating read. it traces the devolution of the three main characters from the set predictability of themselves through the ordered preparatio for an insane essay into an around the world race. No one is prepared for what comes. We, none of us is ever what we think we are and certainly never that which we project to others.
Miles Kelly
A slow moving book with some good sea passages. The main characters are never entirely believable and the way the book ends, all their lives seem to have turned completely about face which undermines their credibility even further. That said it had some very good moments and held my interest to the implausible end.
A yacht salesman who is going through a down time elects to participate in an around the world (solo) race, using his company's new yacht, but he doesn't know it is flawed. He doesn't account for the severe depression that accompanies his being alone at sea for so long.
Mwaoshe  Njemah
An interesting book, but by no means great. I only ever finished it on the second attempt.
Stone has Hemingwayan pretences, but he is no Ernest.
The book has a great plot, vividly imagined characters and a good pace to it, but Stone stretches himself too thin on this one
Not what I thought it would be. Reminds me of F. Scott Fitzgerald books
Good read. Barely remember the story, but left me with a sense of sea navigation that I am sure has impacted my appreciation since of the stories of friends who have traveled the high seas.
An extremely disappointing novel of middle class angst. I had heard good things about the book and about Stone's work in general, but I found the book to be surprisingly bad.
This is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. It's sad, thought provoking, and beautifully written. I can't recommend this book enough.
I read this quite a few years ago, but I remember really, really liking it, particularly the sea passages. I think I will re-read it soon.
K.J. Kron
It was OK. Sailing takes me away. Well, it didn't really capture me, but it was an interesting premise.
All of Stone's strengths combined in a hypnotic tale of a long-distance sailing race.
Loved it - chilling story of sailing solo. I'd never do that, after reading this book.
Carla Maxwell
Very well written with three-dimensional characters. The sea passages were riveting.
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ROBERT STONE was the author of seven novels: A Hall of Mirrors, Dog Soldiers (winner of the National Book Award), A Flag for Sunrise, Children of Light, Outerbridge Reach, Damascus Gate, and Bay of Souls. His story collection, Bear and His Daughter, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and his memoir, Prime Green, was published in 2006.
His work was typically characterized by psychological compl
More about Robert Stone...
Dog Soldiers Damascus Gate A Flag For Sunrise Death of the Black-Haired Girl A Hall of Mirrors

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