Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Not Wanted On The Voyage” as Want to Read:
Not Wanted On The Voyage
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Not Wanted On The Voyage

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  6,317 ratings  ·  303 reviews
Not Wanted on the Voyage is the story of the great flood and the first time the world ended, filed with an extraordinary cast of remarkable characters. With pathos and pageantry, desperation and hope, magic and mythology, this acclaimed novel weaves its unforgettable spell.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 2nd 1996 by Penguin Canada (first published 1984)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Not Wanted On The Voyage, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jamie To answer your question, one cannot LIE in a fictional novel loosly based and inspired on a story from the bible which most consider to be not only…moreTo answer your question, one cannot LIE in a fictional novel loosly based and inspired on a story from the bible which most consider to be not only fiction, but fairy tales.(less)
J.S. I wish you'd been in my Book Club when we discussed this book. I, too, thought it was more about the internal voyage than the external one. I also…moreI wish you'd been in my Book Club when we discussed this book. I, too, thought it was more about the internal voyage than the external one. I also thought that the existence of God was a moot point, in the end (is this why he's portrayed as, basically, ineffectual?).(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,317 ratings  ·  303 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Not Wanted On The Voyage
Regine
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Larry
May 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emily
Dec 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bravissimo, fiction
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
...more
Laurie Burns
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Nicole
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,
...more
Meghan Eyck
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
kingshearte
Dec 10, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: effed-up, fiction
"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
Sarah
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars, 2008
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 ...more
Calista
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 ...more
Wendy Baxter
Mar 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Lisa
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Four stars only because I sobbed my eyes out reading this wonderful, but gut-wrenchingly sad book. Cat lovers especially be warned.
Chad
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
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, ...more
Elliot A
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Kathryn
Sep 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Story❤
As beautiful and heartbreaking as when I first read it 30 years ago.
Heather(Gibby)
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a clever, yet dark and disturbing retelling of the Noah and the Ark story.
Living in biblical times were tough, especially for the women, add a bit of fanaticism, and a God complex to the mix, and you have an intense story.
Katie_marie
May 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  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
...more
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?"
...more
Brian
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I discovered this text in a bookshop in Stratford Canada where I go yearly to attend the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Mr. Findley was a performer there, long ago, and his plays have been produced at the Festival. Knowing nothing about his fiction I picked up the book because of its intriguing premise. I was not disappointed!
Mr. Findley has created a world, that due to his prowess with the tools of magical realism, seems utterly believable. From an androgynous devil, to the explanation of the
...more
Liam Faucher
Another book for my Post-Colonial Lit class. Not going to rate this one, not to be confused with a zero rating. Just closed it and it's still a bit raw. It was a struggled read, not for its subversions of the Genesis account (which were easy to be on board with) but for it's challenging narrative ethics. I worry that the speaker crossed the line of indulging in Noah's horrifying actions for more than a critique. At times Findley's voice seemed to err on the side of delighting in the graphic, ...more
Megs
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I've actually waited a few weeks before reviewing this book, trying to sort through my thoughts and feelings on it. I still feel like that is as impossible a task as ever, so I'm just going to go for it.

I liked the idea of this book. The plot and themes throughout with interesting and engaging. I enjoyed the characters of Mrs. Noyes, Mottyl and Lucy and enjoyed hating Dr. Noyes. I think the themes of the novel were interesting and spoke with the struggles many encounter when facing off against
...more
Lisa
Aug 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: c20th, canada
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
Jason
Dec 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: we-own, shade-tree
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
Suzanne Thorson
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable. I like stories that bring the bible into focus. It has been many years since I read this and doubt I can remember many of the details but I would recommend it to anyone. BTW I am an atheist but I like to learn what I can from all!
Bridget
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I very rarely read "classics" because often I find the story boring and repetitious, the artistic message lacking in genuine meaning, and the culture around the book arrogant and officious. However, I have been mildly curious about this one for a long time, and a friend of mine recommended it, so I thought I'd read it. It is, after all, a work of fantasy, and how can I resist one of those!

The plot is not really going to be a surprise to anyone - spoiler! The story about Noah's family features
...more
Lynn Domina
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel--fairy tale meets magical realism. A retelling of the story of Noah's ark, though the central character is Noah's wife. Everything is more complicated than a simple binary of good and evil. It's amusing and tragic and heart rending.
Cait
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favourite
So good, and so creepy. A different take on the tale of Noah and the Ark. There is definitely more going on in this story than the simple "two by two" that I was taught as a child. I'll never think of the story the same way again. This book is seared into my brain.

Fantastic read, really recommend it. One of my favourites.
Tony Gualtieri
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant, unique, and engaging retelling of the Noah myth; an audacious concept perfectly realized.
M.J.A. Peters
May 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Read it as a kid and it's stuck with me all these years.
Paul Boucher
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved it. Found it clever and subversive.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Magical Realism in North America 1 5 Feb 27, 2015 07:33AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Cure for Death by Lightning
  • The Stone Angel
  • The Stone Carvers
  • The Jade Peony
  • A Complicated Kindness
  • The Diviners
  • Fifth Business (The Deptford Trilogy, #1)
  • Who Has Seen the Wind
  • In the Skin of a Lion
  • What's Bred in the Bone (Cornish Trilogy, #2)
  • The Stone Angel
  • Solomon Gursky Was Here
  • Coming Through Slaughter
  • Two Solitudes
  • The Way the Crow Flies
  • The Edible Woman
  • Medicine River
  • Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town
See similar books…
272 followers
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
...more
“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.” 15 likes
“Complaints about reality are immature.” 10 likes
More quotes…