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The Drowning

3.9  ·  Rating details ·  39 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
May 1944: dawn in the Bay of Biscay. A U-boat lies crippled on the seabed. Within earshot of the warship that sank her, a solitary survivor breaks the surface. Injured, in shock, hypothermic, his life-vest torn, he cries out for help.

The captain is on the bridge and brings his binoculars to bear.

The order he gives sets off a train of consequences reaching down through the
Published May 29th 2011
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Benjamin Duffy
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book a second time before sitting down to write a review, simply because I didn't trust my flood of first impressions after the initial run-through. Having finished it again, with six months in between to digest its contents, I feel I can safely say that The Drowning is one of my five favorite novels. I found it spellbinding, poignant, painful, joyful, and ultimately uplifting, and I give it my highest possible recommendation.

I was unprepared for a book like this from Richard Herley.
Jay Fromkin
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Reminiscent of the style of Kazuo Ishiguro, this is a novel of undeclared love, class distinction, duty, ambition, and regret.

The title event, "The Drowning," sets in motion conditions for the book. Malcolm Urquhart, a junior naval officer in World War II is aghast when his commanding officer leaves a German sailor to drown after sinking the German's submarine. Urquhart brings charges against his superior, expecting it to be handled within the service, but is appalled when it
Joe Reedy
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I've read by Richard Herley and after reading reviews on this book I thought I had an idea of what to expect. I did and I totally didn't. I was never able to accurately predict what was going to happen to the characters, yet the overall universal lesson taught to the characters in the book came across very poignantly.

I struggled to maintain interest throughout the entire book as I found a lot of the subject matter fairly uninteresting due to vast ignorance I possess (and
Christopher Gallagher
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Seldom have I read a book that moved me quite as much, and as deeply, as The Drowning by Richard Herley. From its opening paragraphs set beneath the wartime Atlantic Ocean, where Herley let me think I was reading one type of novel, only to confound me in the second chapter, to its conclusion 70 odd years later, The Drowning never failed to satisfy.

Essentially a love story, the action moves seamlessly between England and Nigeria, and recounts the lives of Roland and Elspeth, both together and ap
Bas Kreuger
Feb 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Beautifull book on how one man's drowing can influence the lives of a great number of people over decades. Its all about British culture, class, religion, spirituality, money and how love in the '50's makes this all difficult for young people not belonging to that same class. I won't give the story away as there's so many surprises and beautifull parts in it not to spoil the reading pleasure.
Herley is a wonderfull writer, entwining all storylines with such ease and style, you cannot lay the book
Ru Viljoen
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is beautiful. Romantic, subtle, politically insightful and philosophically insightful.

I always enjoy books that span a lifetime. It makes the reader re-appraise their priorities from a more distant perspective than is usually used.

I would recommend the drowning as heartily as it was recommended to me.
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow. That's all. Read it. Another stellar recommendation from my brother Ben! See his review to be further enticed... just in case my brevity isn't enticement enough :)
Nov 04, 2014 rated it liked it
A nice and messy story, cause people real life are messy. Many junctions, inflexions but only one way, one path.
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I was born in England in 1950 and educated at Watford Boys’ Grammar School and Sussex University, where my interest in natural history led me to read biology; but from my earliest years English had been my “best” subject, and shortly before my final exams I decided to try to become a professional writer. The job of the artist – in whichever medium he or she works – is an important one, since, cons ...more
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