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Sailor Twain: Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson

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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  3,587 ratings  ·  548 reviews
One hundred years ago. On the foggy Hudson River, a riverboat captain rescues an injured mermaid from the waters of the busiest port in the United States. A wildly popular—and notoriously reclusive—author makes a public debut. A French nobleman seeks a remedy for a curse. As three lives twine together and race to an unexpected collision, the mystery of the Mermaid of the H ...more
Hardcover, 399 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by First Second (first published September 27th 2011)
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Tandava Brahmachari Age always depends on the kid, but this has got a fair bit of nudity and a sex scene, so take that into account. Some swearing, too.

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Average rating 3.70  · 
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Seth T.
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Sailor Twain: Or the Mermaid in the Hudson by Mark Siegel

Toothless and tamed. Declawed and domesticated. Over time, the old legends evolve from being terrible and terrifying to existing as pacified gentilities. As the world is industrialized (and more, technologized), our fear of the fantastic is replaced by something more civilized. We've traded the savage for the banal. And certainly, some of us prefer the latter to the former. Because fearing fantasies is distasteful to a society that is smarter than that, we make our monsters into men and our men
...more
Calista
A story set on a riverboat. The art is in black and white. The author put lots of time and love into his creation. It is very misty and mysterious. The art fits the tone of the story.

There is a mermaid in the story. The thing about this story that is the most real regarding a mermaid is her hair isn't draped constantly over her breasts. She is bear chest anytime you see her. That is how it would be, I doubt mermaids would be so modest. So, there are a lot of breasts in this story.

It is also abo
...more
Maureen
May 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, novels, comics, borrowed
this is just a lovely book, an objet d'art beautifully packaged in a way that's increasingly rare these days. i liked the charcoal drawings in this hardbound graphic novel, particularly the scenic shots of the riverboat on the water very much. the protagonist, captain twain (not, not mark -- this one, elijah, reminds us that twain was not his real name and that he's some other writing riverboat captain) sort of looks like the count from sesame street but i eventually got over the resemblance.

the
...more
Debbie Zapata
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eyesome
This is only the second authentic graphic novel I have read and this time I understand the appeal of the genre. I liked Sailor Twain for the story itself, the artwork, the feel of the book, all the lovely details that went into this volume. This was the first time I could see how drawings add extra dimensions to the narration, sometimes become the narration. I want to go back to the beginning and start all over again, just for the fun of looking for details I may have missed!

But meanwhile, what
...more
Nicky
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it
I wasn’t a fan of the art at first, and the main character remained kind of distractingly comical-looking for me, but it grew on me. The charcoal look is great, suits the setting perfectly, and for all that Sailor Twain himself looks a little odd, some of the characters are beautifully done. Including, of course, the mermaid. Funnily enough, I read this just the day before I read Brubaker’s Fatale: Death Chases Me, and the whole enchantment aspect seemed pretty similar; a shared theme bridging t ...more
Sam Quixote
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Given the title “Sailor Twain” and the picture of the 19th century steamboat, you’d be forgiven for thinking Mark Siegel had written a story featuring a young Sam Clemens before he became the celebrated novelist Mark Twain. In fact, the Captain Twain of the Steamship Lorelei is an aspiring writer himself though he begins the book uninspired and blocked from writing. His crippled wife is onshore trying different treatments while he is on board his ship, earning as much as he can ferrying passenge ...more
Raina
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this more than I did.

It's an epic tale incorporating northeast amerikan myth, literary legends, lustful temptation, slavery politics, and workplace ethics. And it's received a lot of acclaim. Personally, though, I didn't connect.

The art was extremely uneven for me. There are beautiful panels, but caricatured human figures felt like an odd choice for the charcoal aesthetic. Some of the shading work or lack of which got downright dissonant in context. It felt like a mock-up for t
...more
jess
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2012
I liked the art a lot. The misty, creepy hudson river, the steamboat, the 1800s - it was a lovely setting. The women in this book are really pretty. Unfortunately, that's about all they are - either pretty and sexy/fuckable or pretty and evil/monstrous. I liked the mermaid mythology because mermaids were awesome, of course. Unfortunately, I did not like the storytelling and this book was unsalvageable for me. The mythology was never as in-depth as I wanted it. I kind of hated all the characters. ...more
Dov Zeller
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
As this book starts out, Sailor "don't call me captain" Twain (thanks David) is approached in a tavern by a somewhat disguised woman, the mysterious, hooded Miss Camomille. She offers him a special necklace in return for the story of her lost love. Twain is grouchy and a little belligerent and tells her she won't believe the story even if he told her, but she gets him to sit and talk. This is the framing of the novel. Sailor Twain is telling sad-big-eyed-Camomille a story in a pub. The "Overatur ...more
David Schaafsma
I almost never read other GR reviews before I review a book, but here I did because I was (initially and still am) confused. The blurbs on the back of the book are written by a range of people: john Irving (who talks about its "erotically charged" images, which is true), Pete Hamill who says this book singlehandedly changes the nature of the novel and puts graphic novels on a new plane...Rachel Maddow found it "addicting"...and maybe thus it becomes a New York Times bestseller... an achievement ...more
Auntie Terror
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
Rather gothic novel like, very enjoyable, and for me very aesthetic.
Nafiza
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
The graphic novel comes with a fantastic synopsis (the title alone is awesome) that snagged my interest and I requested it on Net Galley without doing my research and realizing it was a graphic novel. I went into it anyway because I like graphic novels and I ended up with a story that is definitely quirky and keeps you guessing. If I were to retitle this book, I would call it the Disintegration of Sailor Twain. The protagonist of this novel, the captain of a cruise boat (ship?) that makes its wa ...more
Aoife
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

This was a really fun graphic novel I picked up in the library without knowing anything about it (which is odd for me as I normally only read graphic novels that are quite popular or from publishers that I’ve requested as I’m not a huge GN reader).

This is about a Captain called Captain Twain who sails on a boat on the Hudson River in the 1800s. There’s a mystery about the disappearance of the original owner of the boar, and his brother is now running it but seems more interested in bedd
...more
Amanda
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Perhaps I'm a bit biased -- knowing the author personally and actually having been drawn into the comic while it was being serialized online -- but Sailor Twain is one of the most beautiful and inventive graphic novels I've read in the past year. It is utterly engrossing, and Mark does an amazing job of telling a story with many twists, turns, heart-wrenching moments, and a lovely ending. If you enjoy historical fiction with a bit of fantasy thrown in (and even if you normally don't), you'll pro ...more
Anna
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Twain is a riverboat captain who thinks that he has the difference between right and wrong fairly well figured out. He's faithful to his sick wife while at sea and tries to keep a reputable ship, with a hard-working crew. Therefore it's not such a big surprise that he's at odds with Lafayette, a French nobleman who is a passenger on his ship. He is obsessed with having 'seven loves' at the same time. It may not be for the reasons Twain thinks though - Lafayette has been afflicted by a mermaid's ...more
Larraine
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've never read a graphic novel before. It will probably be a while before I read one again. However, if this author writes another, I may just have to make an exception. I've picked up graphic novels in bookstores and have been uninterested for one reason or another. Most of them seem to be written for teenagers or gamers. I read a review about this one, reserved it at the library, then promptly forgot about it until it showed up. By that time I had forgotten that it was a graphic novel! The st ...more
Michele
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an intriguing and interesting graphic novel. I really liked it. When I began reading it, I thought the illustrations were a bit comical, especially the eyes and noses. However, I grew to love the illustrations. I found them to be tantalizing and evocative. The story--that of a New York river mermaid's hold over various characters--is peppered with funny and erotic and sometimes sad pieces that made me want to keep reading. I am not a huge graphic novel fan, but this one tells a story tha ...more
Stephanie
I stayed up way too late because I could not stop reading this graphic novel and I stayed up even later thinking about it. When I finished reading I wasn't sure what to think, but the later I stayed up, ruminating over the story and how it grabs you, the more I appreciated the dark beauty of this work.

Sailor Twain, or the mermaid in the Hudson is the story of Captain Twain, a highly respected Captain who runs a steamship, the enchanting mermaid he rescues one night, and how his obsession for he
...more
Karen
Oct 03, 2012 rated it really liked it


This was a joy to read. I loved that so much of it took place around where I live. There will be no spoilers coming from me.

The artwork is all charcoal or pencil which fits in well with steamboats and sooty New York in the mid-1800's. There is also a little sex and nudity so don't hand this to some kid before you read it yourself. As a big fairy tales and legends fan I enjoyed the use of both as story elements. It must have been a lot of fun doing research on this book.

I recommend this book
...more
Michael
Nov 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
via NYPL - I really enjoyed this one. In the 1880s on the Hudson River, a steamship captain rescues a wounded mermaid, a French expat seeks to remove a curse, and a mysterious author is about to make a public appearance for the first time. Siegel's figures are very cartoony, but the use of shadowed charcoal drawings gives the book incredible texture and mood. The script is deliberate, weaving new threads into the book's greater tapestry and building to a stunning conclusion. The characters are c ...more
Jeff Raymond
An absolutely gorgeous graphic novel that's actually a mermaid tale. Another one of those books that I don't have a ton to say about, but is just one of those high-quality First Second titles that catches you and surprises you from start to finish. Highly recommended.
T.
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I followed this as a web serial as it was coming out. I'm so glad to see it released in book form. I loved the attention to period detail, the deft way the supernatural/magical elements are woven into the narrative, and the twisting, turning storyline.
Mohammed
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I always have been a fan of sailors lifestyle. Therefore, this book was so fine. Also, apart from that, I liked all the mysteries under the water. I only wish if there were another part of it or if the end hold more details.
Edward Sullivan
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
There's all sorts of interesting stuff going on--ghosts, romance, mystery, danger, obsession, and more!--in this weird, atmospheric, and quite engrossing tale.
Mark
“'Correct me if I’m wrong, Mister Lafayette, but won’t Descartes’s people sneer at such reason-resistant magic?'

'You’re asking the wrong Frenchman. I’ve been here too long. After a time, America casts a spell on even the most enlightened European. Stay on the Hudson a few years and it turns you into a mystic. Unless you’re already dead, of course.'"

Set aboard a steamboat traveling the Hudson River line between New York City and Albany in 1887, this graphic novel resonates with mystery, tragedy,
...more
Christine
Disclaimer: I got a ARC via Netgalley.

Sailor Twain is a novel.
Not just a graphic novel, but a novel.
I know, we tend to only refer to graphic novels that people tend to apply that term to are Maus and Watchmen.
But this is a novel.

Sailor Twain tells the story of a steamboat on the Hudson River; in particular it is concerned with the boat’s captain, a Captain Twain. Twain works for a Frenchman, who has been missing, and, therefore, at the moments takes orders from the man’s brother, Lafayette. Ther
...more
Beth Cato
I received a free Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher.

Sailor Twain compiles a serialized webcomic written and illustrated by Mark Siegel. In hardcover, the book is rather daunting in thickness at 399 pages, but it's a very fast read as it's a graphic novel. Most pages feature little text. The blurbs show an impressive array of positive remarks from notables such as John Irving, Pete Hamill, Rachel Maddow, and Robin McKinley.

Since it is a graphic novel, there are several aspects
...more
Nicola Mansfield
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reason for Reading: Set in the 1880s, I wasn't about to pass this one by as it sounded just to my tastes.

Phenomenal! One of my favourite graphic novels of the year. This is a haunting, gothic story set in Victorian era New York, or to be more exact on a steamer upon the Hudson River. From the beginning prologue, the book is surrounded in mystery. The fog that fills the graphic panels also hovers heavily over the plot. Atmosphereic only begins to describe the aura one feels reading this book and
...more
Elia
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If anyone had told me in January that one of the best books I would read this year would be a story about a mermaid, I probably would have laughed. I would have been wrong.
Sailor Twain is definitely one of the best new books of the year, and mt favorite new graphic novel so far. The story is captivating - giving a new twist to mermaid lore, and the characters are well developed and engaging. It has a little bit of everything thrown in: romance, adventure, the supernatural - but it's done in a wa
...more
Fantasy Literature
Apr 12, 2014 rated it liked it
So while I keep saying that I appear not to be the person for whom graphic novels are created, as I have hardly ever found one I strongly respond to, I’m also stubborn (or dumb) enough to keep trying now and then. The most recent attempt was Mark Siegel’s Sailor Twain. Alas, I’m still that guy.

Set on a steamer traveling up and down the Hudson during the late 1800s, Sailor Twain is the story of two men — Twain, the captain of the Lorelei; and Lafayette, the French-born owner of the steam line — a
...more
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Mark Siegel was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, grew up in Paris, France, and now lives in New York. A graduate of Brown University, he is the author and illustrator of several award-winning picture books, including the graphic novel, SAILOR TWAIN, and the 5 WORLDS series. Mark is also founded First Second Books—Macmillan's prestigious graphic novel publisher.

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