La nave morta
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La nave morta

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4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  489 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Il centro della storia è la lotta per la sopravvivenza di un gruppo di disperati in balia dell'oceano e delle proprie passioni. Attento alle questioni sociali e psicologiche, Bruno Traven (pseudonimo di Berick Traven Torsvan) ha coniugato il fascino dell'avventura con lo studio psicologico e il mistero della natura umana. Il romanzo apparve per la prima volta nel 1926 in G...more
Hardcover, 435 pages
Published 2002 by Baldini Castoldi Dalai (first published 1926)
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Ramorx
Nov 09, 2007 Ramorx rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people of good constitution.
O my fucking christ, this is the most miserable, insufferable book I have ever read. I could only continue reading because its fucking brilliant, and Traven is a genius.
The first part is an occassionally amusing odyssey of a man without a passport dealing with authorities, but mostly its just an painful journey of the absurd into the depths of bureaucratic and legal inanity.
The second part of the book is where it gets really gruesome. Mr No-passport gets a job working in the bowels of the Deat...more
Maureen
b. traven played me like a fiddle with this book. i found myself muttering darkly about the bloodless bureaucracy that runs the world, piling up money that will never been seen by the poor, and the honest workers who do their best to stay afloat. it is this kind of rhetoric that stoked my fire:

"There is no getting used to pain and suffering. You become only hard-boiled, and you lose a certain capacity to be impressed by feelings. Yet no human being will ever become used to sufferings to such an...more
Rod
I like sea stories, and I like stories about people who are down on their luck and downtrodden, so yeah, I was bound to like this. Some complain that it gets boring in the middle with a lot of talk about furnaces (hi, Maureen!) and boilers and such, and there definitely is a lot of time spent on the workaday drudgery of the firemen and coal-drags working in the stoke-hold of the titular ship, but I felt this was there for a reason. Traven succeeds in making you feel the backbreaking toil, the fi...more
Lauri Manner
Takakannessa luki että tämä kirja on kuin "pannuhuoneiden Moby Dick". Sain 12-vuotiaana isoäidiltäni syntymäpäivälahjaksi Moby Dickin, ja jokainen sen lukuyritys on päättynyt jatkuvaan nukahteluun. Kuolemanlaiva sen sijaan tuli luettua aika lailla herkeämättä putkeen.

Kyseessä on umpianarkistinen seikkailukirja joka yhdistää lennokkaasti ja runsailla lapinlisillä kerrottua merimiesjuttua erittäin purevaan yhteiskunnalliseen satiiriin. Kertojana toimiva Gerard Gales on paperinsa hukannut merimies...more
Panagiotis
The last time i caught my self searching for an epilogue that i knew it would not exist, just to find something that would make me feel better from what i had just read,was when i read 1984.

By far one of the most depressing books i have ever read, the death ship is the story of a man who unable to prove his own identity after a series of unfortunate events, has no other choice than to embarg οn a coffin ship, a ship where stranded people work as sailors, people with no home and no identity.

Fortu...more
Dave
B. Traven is the author of the book behind the famous movie Treasure of the Sierra Madre. He also authored a series of books I've read, on the Mexican revolution, that are now out of print. B. Traven is a mysterious personality who has been identified as being Rett Marue a German national. Whatever he was, this book is memorable as a Kafka-esque tale of a stateless sailor who is tossed across national borders and ends up on a "death ship" with the job of stoker in a hellish engine room. I've rea...more
Tom
Excellent -- I can see that the middle section might be a bit of an ordeal for some readers, and I'll cop to needing the occasional side-trip into something a bit lighter. But Traven keeps the energy high at all times, and I found myself engaged throughout.
Rich Martin
B. Traven may be the most mysterious author of all time, at least in modern days. No one knows who he was, though most think he lived in Germany and was forced to live because of political turbulence. Some think he was more than one person. Whatever, he wrote some great stuff. "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" is a terrific book and a great movie. (Bogie was a perfect villain.) But "Death Ship" might be better. Apparently Traven, whoever he was, worked on a ship that was marked for destruction by t...more
Sarah
Um, wow. How had I never heard of Traven before? Apparently he's a big deal... and I now see why. I would not have expected to love a novel about sailors and bureaucracy as much as I did this book. A brilliant novel of the interwar period, scathing socioeconomic critique, hilarious and heartbreaking. And voice? This book has got it.
ElizaBeth
This book starts well and ends well, but a long part of the middle is just really, really boring. (Sorry Adam, I know you love it.)
Patty
looks like i have a new favorite.
1.1
The best seafaring story Conrad never wrote. Truly an astounding, moving, deeply insightful and often intensely funny novel. It holds all of its qualities every time I read it, and by the next go-through in a few years it will doubtless strike me as much as it ever has. The use of language isn't 'perfect' in all cases but it sounds perfectly right. It's not exactly PC but I can't imagine this book offending anyone except people who deserve a good offending. The plot is wonderfully, fatally absur...more
Dan
There are quite a few things going in favor of this novel: it's funny, it doesn't romanticize the life of a high-seas sailor, it has a playfully Kafkaesque view of governments and bureaucracy, and it has touches of the bizarre-absurd that are entertaining.

What the novel lacks, however, is a character - at least a human character; the Yorkiee is more fully realized than either our hero, Pipip (we don't even know his real name even when he says it's something else), or Stanislav. Both characters...more
wally
1st from taven for me.

the death ship, the story of an american sailor , b. traven, 1934, forward by john anthony west, saugerties, new york, april, 1991

there is song of an american sailor on a white page...forget the name of those things...stanzas? i dunno. the thing is 12-lines long, broken up into 3 groups of 4. ooga booga.

now stop that crying, honey dear,
the jackson square remains still here
in sunny new orleans
in lovely louisiana

she thinks me buried in the sea,
no longer does she wait for me
...more
Steve Evans
Traven's first best-seller, written in Mexico after he shipped up there in the 1920s. The first half is quite amusing actually as the narrator slyly pokes fun both at his own fecklessness and bureaucracy; the second half goes grim and gets down to the nitty-gritty of 20th century life as the author saw it.

Traven's identity was a puzzle even long after he died. The discovery that he was a German national who concocted a variety of identities to fend off the curious had to wait till then. His wido...more
Nick Jones
Although I took three books on holiday, this, in a 1934 edition translated from the German by Eric Sutton, was on the bookshelves of the house I was staying at...and we should always read other people’s books, so I read it. I had previously read B. Traven’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which is fun but its main interest is that it provided the source of the film. And, overall, Traven seems more interesting as an enigmatic legend than as a writer. I hadn’t even heard of The Death Ship. It is...more
j to the muthafuckin R
Oct 26, 2009 j to the muthafuckin R rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Some quotes from the book:

"No use to preach to the working-man courtesy & politeness when at the same time the working-man is not given working conditions under which he can stay polite and soft-mannered."

"Morals are taught & preached not for the sake of heaven, but to assist those people on earth who have everything they need & more to retain their possessions & to help them to accumulate still more. Morals is the butter for those who have no bread."

"The regular work on the Yori...more
James
The death ship it is I am in,
All I have lost, nothing to win
So far off sunny New Orleans
So far off lovely Louisiana.
(from "Song of An American Sailor")

This was B. Traven's first novel, published in 1934, and it is my favorite of his works. It is a sea story unlike any other, being a story of men at sea as a metaphor for men against what Jack London infamously referred to as the "Iron Heel" of modern industrialism.
Gerard Gales misses his ship, the Tuscaloosa, in Antwerp and is picked up by the...more
Clark
Ever be talking about some band or something that has long since kicked the bucket as far as modern cool goes, like, "Dude, yeah, I can't listen to 'em now or anything but The Pixies were my shit back when I was fifteen." but then you go home and on the right night you throw on the Come On Pilgrim LP and it's totally just as good as it was when you were a pissed off high school kid and you're singing along and getting this totally weird bittersweet-but-more-on-the-sweet-side feeling? Ever done t...more
HA
Woo. The mysterious B. Traven uses the lives of post-WWI merchant mariners as a vehicle to convey his feelings about statelessness, heartless bureaucracy and the downward spiral human beings can find themselves in at the bottom of the socio-economic spectrum. Well done...great story about a sailor without identity papers who keeps finding himself in one bad deal after another. Very interesting book, if you keep in mind it's the viewpoint of a Communist who fled Germany in the 20'a or 30's on Ame...more
Colleen
The story starts out tongue in cheek. The sailor is a smart ass who gets left behind when he spends the night with a girl he meets at a port bar. Unfortunately, he's also left his sailor's card and other identification back on board the ship too. The story turns Kafkesque when he has to prove that he's American and if he can't the police will escort him to the border. It's the early 1930s and most of Europe is unemployed and hungry. After awhile he does get a job on a ship, but it's so old and t...more
Gregorus
May 17, 2007 Gregorus rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young people, anarchists, people who work in offices
The metaphors are ripe in this book even as the language is plain. Or, maybe there aren't any metaphors at all.

The book tells a compelling story that just so happens to rail against government bureaucracy, the taboos of society, and the modern idea of 'work' in an unsubtle yet tragically comic way. Since I tend to agree with all of these sentiments, I enjoyed the book. I would be curious what its tendency would be on those who don't feel the same way.

As a sailor without papers in Europe, the pr...more
Az
This is how my friend Hugh described this book to me: In the first part of the book an American sailor misses his ship somewhere in Europe and has no papers, so he gets deported and kicked out of a dozen countries, sent to jail, left at the border with a sandwich, all of these things taking place at a time when European nations had just begun to require people to have passports, so the officials are always incompetent and don't know how to deport him right. Finally he gets a job on a death ship...more
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
Mar 07, 2008 tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people considering borders
Shelves: literature, politics
This was the 1st Traven bk I read. He's most known for "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" wch was made into a film by John Houston starring Humphrey Bogart. "The Death Ship" starts out humorously enuf as a comedy-of-errors: sailor gets separated from ship, doesn't have papers, etc. However, the real content of the bk is a critique of a world full of borders & capitalist corruption. There aren't any spoilers in this little review. I'll just say that the situation goes from bad to worse until...more
Mike Snyder
I read this book while working on Scandinavian freighters in the early '70s and so could relate to everything in the book, although we didn't have to shovel coal since we had diesel motors. Moreover, I was attracted to anarchist thinking at the time, too, so of course I loved the anti-authoritarianism of the story. It had the kind of bleak hopelessness that I find very appealing, since I have that view of mankind's future. The ending is terrific. No cop-out happy ending. The movie version with H...more
David Koblos
What is it like to be without a passport in this regulated post WWI world? B. Traven gives us a very intensive and cynical taste of it, as we accompany an American sailor through the intricate web of bureaucracy, trying to get help from consuls and other officials, after having missed his ship, with all his documents on board. Eventually, the only viable option for cases like him, which we are introduced to along the story, is working on an over-insured death ship, under incredibly bad condition...more
Marty
I finally finished this one and i love it. I want to read it again soon. It follows the journey of a vagabond sailor on a series of ships as he is pushed from country to country because of his status of "non-existence" ie he has no passport or sailors ID. it is beautiful piece of satire aimed at the absurdity of The State, and of bureaucracy. Its also a gripping adventure as well. Looking forward to reading more of Traven's stuff.
Peter Ibsen
Apr 25, 2009 Peter Ibsen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Peter by: An old man in a bookstore who rated this in his top five books o
This is hands down one of my favorite books of all time. It is hilarious, full of amazing characters and poetic descriptions of the a blackned side of life that doesn't exist anymore but was very prominent during the writing of the novel (early 20th century). The style is very modern in a sort of Hemmingway way, but before Hemmingway. And a lot funnier. I consistently recommend this to anyone.
Sergio
Parts of this book are so depressing that I stopped reading it some 30+ years ago. And it has not changed. The first part of the book has smartly written dark/tragic humor. The second part is difficult to get thru at best, but common suffering is overcome by friendship. Yet the side stories sink the story. And yes, the author is german.
Mike
Sorrow. I special ordered this book as I could not find it anywhere and I loved Treasure Of the Sierra Madre. (another of Travens books)
I may have to quit this one though. Feel like I'm wasting precious time. Well written and all but too much mental wandering so that the story is lost. I quit after 130 pages.
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B. Traven (February, 1882? – March 26, 1969?) was the pen name of a German novelist, whose real name, nationality, date and place of birth and details of biography are all subject to dispute. A rare certainty is that B. Traven lived much of his life in Mexico, where the majority of his fiction is also set—including his best-known work, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1927), which was adapted as...more
More about B. Traven...
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Macario Canasta de Cuentos Mexicanos The Rebellion of the Hanged The Bridge in the Jungle

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“it would have been a rare thing anyhow for an official to come upon an idea that is not provided for in the regulations.” 1 likes
“ordinary people can never fall over the walls, because they never dare climb high enough to see what is beyond the walls.” 1 likes
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