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The Sharks

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  751 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Set at the end of the 19th century, this novel is a tale of mutiny and shipwreck. The narrator, Peder Jensen, is both competent second mate and unworldly philosopher. Esther Greenleaf Muerer has previously translated other works by Jens Bjorneboe, including Moment of Freedom.
Paperback, 241 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Norvik Press (first published 1974)
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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  751 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Oh Jens, your hope and your sorrow break my heart - the bravery with which you stare hard into the brutal, the love with which you hold on tight to your belief in the potential of our dumb, brutish species is enough to make me weep. I have now had the great fortune to read all of your novels which exist in English translation, many of which are sadly long out of print. This is a crime and a shame. You belong with the greats of post-war European literature, not just for the brilliance of your nov ...more
Nickolas the Kid
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: important, literature
Ο ναυτικός πρέπει πρώτα να παλέψει και να κατανικήσει τους προσωπικούς του δαίμονες και εν συνεχεία να μπει στο Βασίλειο του Ποσειδώνα και να δαμάσει τα κύματα...

Ο "Ποσειδώνας" είναι ένα εμπορικό καράβι που ξεκινάει το ταξίδι του από την Μανίλα με προορισμό την Μασσαλία. Ο δεύτερος υποπλοίαρχος Γιένσεν μας διηγείται την ιστορία του.

Ο Γιενς Μπιέρνεμπου μας δίνει μια ναυτική ιστορία από την οποία αναδύονται συμβολισμοί, φιλοσοφικές απορίες και κοινωνικοπολιτικά μηνύματα. Το καράβι είναι μια μικρο
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bjorneboe, favoritism
Dear Jens,

I know you are dead by your own hand. If you can somehow read this, I'd just like to say: fuck off! You gotta be kidding me, man! Are you serious? This is your last novel and you off yourself? Motherfucker! I'd read a few of your books prior to this, but I had NO idea what I was in for. Sonofabitch.

So you just decided to write an homage of sorts to your childhood hero Conrad? And, in doing so, to write what is quite possibly the single best maritime novel since the passing of Old Joe?
A typical Bjørneboe – which means I loved it.

This is the last novel Jens Bjørneboe wrote and published before he hanged himself (two years later) apparently as the result of his struggle with depression and alcoholism. He called his work Haiene which is the Norwegian word for Sharks.

Although there are some real sharks in the story and also in an afterword by the author we mainly witness allegorical sharks aboard the bark “Neptun” on its final journey from Manilla to Marseille. The story is told
Aug 11, 2017 rated it liked it

The Flying Dutchman is homelessness and unrest. He bodes misfortune to all who see him. In a sense he's every seaman's fate.

Norwegian fiction. Moby-Dick meets Lord of the Flies. The writing is clear and sober; a narrative of wind, water and fog. I read the first part on an overcast day, and that contributed to the atmosphere.

On one hand it's an exciting sea story, with all the elements you might expect: bad omens, legends, sharks, typhoons, digressions about the depths of the sea and what they
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Σκέφτομαι καμιά φορά ότι πολύ εύκολα τα βάζω τα πέντε αστεράκια -όμως αποτελούν ένδειξη όχι αριστουργήματος (δεν ξέρω τι είν' αυτό) αλλά απόλαυσης ή πληρότητας. Εν προκειμένω, πληρότητας. Οι καρχαρίες με φάνηκαν απ' τα πληρέστερα μυθιστορήματα που έχω διαβάσει. Απ' τη μια κλασική θαλασσινή, σκληροτράχηλη περιπέτεια. Απ' την άλλη, πολιτικός στοχασμός και ατάκτως τακτικές παρεκβάσεις κοινωνιολογικές, φιλοσοφικές, ναυπηγικές, ακόμη και βιολογικες με τις απολαυστικές σελίδες (και στο επίμετρο) γεμάτ ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nordic
Bjørneboe’s insights places human nature on display.

The nuances in his descriptions of a sailor’s life, the knowledge and emotional depth - as in the author’s comprehension of a long life lived at sea, which feels as if he’s experienced this life first hand - as well as the emotional range that the characters are capable of... it’s a collection of the good, the bad and the ugly that we humans are capable of representing. Bjørneboe goes at it by showing most of the characters from their favourab
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-university
Not my cup of tea.

I soon got that the whole ship with its crew was just one big allegory and a take on society's issues and possible solutions...but it didn't seem plausible to me. And had I not know the allegory-part before, I would have read it instead as a reflection of the author's mental instability/problems and his struggles with alcoholism and how it affected his worldview. To be honest, I still am more inclined to read this novel as a reflection of the troubles of the author's mind with
Julia Langnes
Hmm, I don't know about this one folks. I've wanted to read Bjørneboe for quite some time now, and while I'm not disappointed I'm something like it. It had the elements I wanted, yet everything felt somehow disconnected. I just wanted it go be longer somehow, and more detailed. And I wanted the ending to be more connected to the rest of the novel. But it was alright, an important book, with very very good writing.
“It is every writer’s responsibility to grapple with his subject matter, again and again, until alcoholism, insanity and suicide.”
- Jens Bjørneboe, 1954

Published in 1974, The Sharks turned out to be Bjørneboe’s last novel. But what a novel it turned out to be.

Written directly after concluding his famous trilogy The History of Bestiality, the author was in a tangled state as he chiseled his new fiction from the rough. For those of you whom are literate in Norwegian, there is an excellent essay
Herdis Marie
Dette er en fantastisk skildring, både av en reise over havet og av mennesket og dets dybder.

Peder Jensen er 2. styrmann ombord i barken "Neptun", og boken følger dette skipet og dets mannskap ut på det åpne hav, der hat, vold, fiendskap og mytteri straks gjør seg gjeldende.

Rent handlingsmessig, er boken spennende. Skildringene av havet og skipet og mannskapet er livlige og historien som utspiller seg er intens og dramatisk. Boken har et par temmelig tekniske kapitler, men de er ikke spesielt la
Beka Sukhitashvili
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norwegian
სად, თუ არა გემზე შესაძლოა მოხდეს მთელი კაცობრიობის მოკლე ისტორია, შუაგულ ოკეანეში, ორ უფსკრულს შორის გამოკიდებულ 30 ადამიანში. ბიორნებუ, როგორც "სიმხეცის ტრილოგიაში", წამოაჩენს ადამიანთა მდგომარეობას, თუმცა ერთი შეხედვით, ცალსახა თვისებების მქონე პრესონაჟები, წიგნის ფინალში გარდაიქმნებიან. წინასწარ ვერაფერს იტყვი, როგორც რეალურ ცხოვრებაში ხდება ხოლმე ადამიანის შეფასებისას.
ზვიგენებიც, კაციჭამიებიც, მხეცებიც, აბგელოზებიც, ღმერთებიც, ყველაფერი ჩვენშია.
Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
ბიორნბოს ერთ-ერთი უკანასკნელი ნაშრომი, რომელიც სულაც არ ჰგავს წინა ტრილოგიას - კაცობრიობის სიმხეცის ისტორიის წიგნებს. მოქმედება გემ "ნეპტუნზე" ხდება. ზვიგენები ირგვლივ და ზვიგენები ბორტზე... ბიორნბო კიდევ ერთხელ გვაჩვენებს ადამიანის სიღრმეში დაბუდებულ მხეცს, რომელსაც სისხლი სწყურია.
Marie Østvold
Jeg vet ikke om jeg ønsker at boka skulle vært enda lengre; eller om den er perfekt slik den er.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastisk bok, fortjener statusen som moderne klassiker! Hørte den som lydbok på Fabel, lest av Denis Storhøi - god opplevelse.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This had so much potential, yet I remain disappointed.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-procure, favorites
Really enjoyed this book. Very easy read. Very hard to put down. Suspenseful and thought provoking. The narrator is a magnificent character.
2.5 stars

The Norwegian Peder Jensen is the second mate on a sailing ship, the Nepture, on route from Manilla to Marseille, in 1899. In the prologue it is revealed that six months after this ship set sail, it is still missing without a trace. In the novel we discover what happened to the ship and the crew. As second mate, and third in command on the ship, Jensen also has to be the crew medic, and spends a lot of his time patching up the various crew members that keep fighting viciously.

There is
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bjørneboe
Bjørneboe is great.

This book is alegorical - wich is an interesting way to tell a story.

Taking into account Bjørneboes way of looking at the world - and it`s complexity, it is a fascinating read. It truly is.

There is only one problem with it. The polarization of the story telling.
Us humans, and our social systems, are complicated. This book really tells us that industrialized countries, and it`s people are bad - while developing countries are good. Wich isn`t necessary true.

Even so, the book
Oliver Eike
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classical
“It is every writer’s responsibility to grapple with his subject matter, again and again, until alcoholism, insanity and suicide.”
- Jens Bjørneboe, 1954

Published in 1974, The Sharks turned out to be Bjørneboe’s last novel. But what a novel it turned out to be.

Written directly after concluding his famous trilogy The History of Bestiality, the author was not doing well, as that trilogy is a lengthy flirt with the idea of suecide. Something at least i was left with the impression of.

And this book
Petter Nordal
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story about a mutinee on a sailing ship as a metaphor for the world in the twilight of imperialism. Is our mission to make money, to work together, to maintain discipline, to conquer savagery, to acheive peace and freedom, or just to keep going forward and eat, viciously, like sharks? Bjørneboe's easy storytelling and his knowledge of the sailing world and the ports of the 19th century give us a glimpse into a view of history which is simultaneously horrifying in its assessment of what people ...more
John Snow
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a modern Norwegian classic, the definite sea novel. In the book Jens Bjørneboe describes the barque Neptun's last voyage in a dark and thrilling story about human greed and evil, about exploitation, and about the human species' race towards destruction. However, the book is not without hope.
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Last Novel by Bjørneboe. At a first sight, it might not look as harsh as the previous ones, but his view of the European position is quite esy to find.
Bartek Pawłowski
Et mesterverk! Hva mer kan man si. Må bare leses...
Nadja (fit-and-beautiful-heart-reads)
a review is up on my blog.
Lisa Flatby
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: related-books
Really liked it, but it's also clear, that this is not the main Jens's work.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
rated it liked it
Aug 11, 2014
Stian Larsen
rated it really liked it
Jul 03, 2008
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Jens Ingvald Bjørneboe was a Norwegian writer whose work spanned a number of literary formats. He was also a painter and a waldorf school teacher. Bjørneboe was a harsh and eloquent critic of Norwegian society and Western civilization on the whole. He led a turbulent life and his uncompromising humanity would cost him both an obscenity conviction as well as long periods of heavy drinking and bouts ...more
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“All sailors are afraid of the sea. They know what it is.” 11 likes
“...the emperor had the poor under control, and poverty could continue to serve its purpose – as a precondition for wealth.” 2 likes
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