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Not Wanted on the Voyage

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  4,593 ratings  ·  210 reviews
Published in 1984, Not Wanted on the Voyage is one of Timothy Findley's most imaginative and compelling literary fictions. Findley turns to one of our essential myths: the biblical story of the great Flood, but he doesn't so much retell it as take our common knowledge of the Old Testament tale and give it an extraordinary twist. Here we have Dr. Noah Noyes, diabolical conj ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 343 pages
Published April 1st 1987 by Laurel (first published 1984)
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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
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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
Laurie Burns
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
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
Wendy Baxter
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.
"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
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
Jess Johnson
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Jun 14, 2008 Katie_marie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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?"
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
Meghan Eyck
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.
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
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
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

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
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
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
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.
Daniel Kukwa
One of the trippiest books in CanLit. There are moments where you'll want to pull your hair out with frustration...alternating with moments of gorgeous black humour, and what seems to be a rather interesting inversion of the approach of George Orwell's "Animal Farm". The novel's main problem is that it might have too many targets at which to hurl its ironic torpedoes...
I don't think I'm able to appreciate this weird book, but I guess a lot of other folks are since it's average rating is 3.98 stars. Maybe I'd have liked it if I knew more about Biblical history or was okay with a time period in which 11-year old girls are married off to grown men or if I could suspend my disbelief enough to accept dragons, faeries, angels, magic doves, Yaweh, and a lot of hypocrisy all mixed together in a strange brew. Personally, I enjoyed Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Ch ...more
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
Four stars only because I sobbed my eyes out reading this wonderful, but gut-wrenchingly sad book. Cat lovers especially be warned.
Based on the Noah tale, Findley's novel is such an extraordinary feat of imagination, that it compels me to do some imagining of my own and over-analyze his story to think up ways the story could have been concluded. Dr. Noyes' (Noah) motives seem to be very suspect. He drives, or, at least, initiates much of the action of the novel, and over the course of the book, his claims are shown to be less and less reliable. Very little of the action is shown from his perspective. Any falsehood he create ...more
Ryan Kovacsik
This book definitely was amazing, but incredibly dark and often upsetting. Not cheerful, or uplifting, even though there are certainly a number of beautifully written passages conveying beauty in the settings or in a human/animal moment.

This is the retelling, in epic detail, of the great flood and God's Edict to Noah to build the ark. Noah Noyes is surrounded by his family, wife, sons, daughter-in-laws, and animals, who are all the main characters in the story. It's an up-close, intimate account
What a creepy, scary, fascinating and disturbing book. I can't say that I liked it - only that I was compelled to finish it. It is both devastating and thought-provoking. It's like a cross between Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, and Oryx and Crake with a little Poisonwood Bible thrown in for good measure. On another level it reminded me somewhat of the Slave Narratives (the true stories on which Lawrence Hill based The Book of Negroes) in that it depicts horrific abuses of power and control whil ...more
This book is written by one of Canada’s most beloved writers, Mr. Timothy Findley. In his version of the great flood you’re transported into biblical times, a world where Noah or Mr. Noyes is a misogynistic pig, whom I became to truly loathe, his wife that likes her drink and their offspring, one which is blue, and let us not forget the talking animals .

This story casts a different light on one of the most beloved tales from the bible, not the one young Christians are exposed to and fall in love
Not Wanted on the Voyage took a while to gain steam, but once I was drawn into it, it was difficult to put down. There were issues raised that I will be thinking about for a long time to come.

Noah, a faithful yet thoroughly unpleasant and repulsive man, and his family are visited by Yahweh, who has been harassed and abused in His journey throughout the world. Yahweh is old and frail, and disgusted with what has happened to His creation. In the course of trying to cheer his guest up, Noah gives
One of my favourite novels that I keep reading over and over again. It's charming, heartbreaking, funny, and sad, all at once. The characters are lovable, and at first I thought a story narrated by a cat would be laughable, but it really isn't because it's so well done! This was the book that introduced me to the brilliant Timothy Findley, and after reading it I promptly went out and bought every novel of his I could find. I've read three others so far and I haven't been disappointed yet!
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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
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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.” 11 likes
“They waited.
The door did not open.
The rain did not stop.
The darkness made a tent and covered them completely.”
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