Good companion to Lord's other book about the Titanic. Lord tackles some of the questions raised by various people. The topics include the building ofGood companion to Lord's other book about the Titanic. Lord tackles some of the questions raised by various people. The topics include the building of the ship as well as the ships discovery. Each chapter is a mini-story and the writing has vigor....more
What is it about the Far North that not only causes people to risk their lives to explore it but also draws people to read about it? I’m not sure, andWhat is it about the Far North that not only causes people to risk their lives to explore it but also draws people to read about it? I’m not sure, and neither is Berton, but he sure writes a good book about five people whose lives in some ways were defined and/or determined by the North – Joe Boyle, Vihjalmur Stefansson, Jane Franklin, John Hornby, and Robert Service. Both Service and Franklin might be considered to be unusual subjects. It is unclear whether Franklin is present simply to include a woman or simply because of her impact on the search for her husband, John Franklin, whose fate while searching for the Northwest Passage, is part of Canada’s history and mythology. It would be just to say that Berton takes hands off approach and doesn’t seem to condemn much of his subjects. He points out their failings, but larger issues are mention and not fully debated. Stefansson’s relationship with an Inuit woman is dealt with, but his behavior in terms of Wrangel Island, really isn’t. Berton saves his harshest language for Hornby whose behavior not only lead to his own death but that of two other people. ...more
The four Chamber Plays are “Storm Weather,” “The Burned House,” “The Ghost Sonata,” and “The Pelican”. According to the introduction, they supposedlyThe four Chamber Plays are “Storm Weather,” “The Burned House,” “The Ghost Sonata,” and “The Pelican”. According to the introduction, they supposedly all deal with death.
The statement is slightly misleading.
The Chamber Plays have more to do with returns that bring change. For the most part, the women characters do not come across too well – it is easy to see why Strindberg’s former wife was upset by “Storm Weather,” but then again neither do the men. Give me the former wife in “Storm Weather” over the father who doesn’t care any day of the week, and twice on Sundays. If anything, Strindberg as a damaged view of all humanity.
Yet, it is a realistic view of the how most of humanity is damaged.
Of the plays, so the introduction tells me, “The Ghost Sonata,” a magic realist play that makes one think of Dark Shadows minus the traditional vampires. After all, one or two characters have something vampire about them. Like “The Pelican”, “Sonata” tackles also the question of sleeping though life, though the outcome to that question is a bit different.
For the most, the women seem to fall into the virgin/whore dichotomy, even with the virgins being too good to last in the word. Even those women who are quiet and seemingly too insane (such as Mummy in Ghost Sonata, and think of both definitions of that word) also fit this choice. Yet, the women are also the characters who seem most aware of the roles that humanity plays.
The most powerful of the plays is “The Pelican,” no doubt because there is a level of reality in the play that in some ways the others lack. ...more