Inder's Reviews > The Unknown Shore

The Unknown Shore by Patrick O'Brian
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Jun 15, 09

bookshelves: 20th-century, fiction, summer-reading, read-2009, england, seafaring, other-reading-2009
Recommended to Inder by: Krishna
Read in June, 2009

I read this in the middle of the night while feeding my baby and while stranded in San Diego with my husband and baby, trying to claw my way home. As far as middle of the night feeding books go, this was too exciting, and I often found myself unable to put it down, even at 4 a.m. (that's saying something, isn't it?). But it was the perfect book for being stranded in San Diego for two days trying to make my way back to Northern California. Because while I was stranded in San Diego, Toby and Jack were shipwrecked off the coast of Chile, starving to death amongst very unfriendly natives. This really helped me keep things in perspective.

So. This is great fun. Dryly funny and, once it gets going, the action never stops. I have only read one of the Aubrey/Maturin novels, and while I really enjoyed it, I think I was overwhelmed by the prospect of a 27 (or whatever) volume series. I mean, I have a to-read list a mile long, if I get stuck on Patrick O'Brian, I'll never get to it! But reading this "prequel" was so much fun, I may have to sneak a few more O'Brians into my life.

My only criticism is the portrayal of the Chilean natives, which was colonialist and based on terrible stereotypes. However, this perfectly fits the 18th century (colonialist) tone of the novel, so it wasn't as offensive as it could have been. Also, since this is a fictionalized account of a real life shipwreck, it could be that the Englishmen really did find the natives to be this unfriendly and "savage." Still, it could have been just a little more enlightened, especially when you consider how impeccably researched the rest of the novel was.
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Reading Progress

06/10/2009 page 60
18.75%
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Seriously, so. many. volumes. I'm constantly trashing copies of this series to make shelf space at the store so let me know if you get the urge to read further. Hopefully you won't need any more travel nightmares put in perspective...


Inder Don't worry, I can always borrow them from my sister. Or my dad. But I do kind of want to read the companion to the Unknown Shores - "The Golden Ocean." Can you look out for that for me?


Edward Truitt Patrick O'Brian was never PC


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