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Outerbridge Reach

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  577 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
The award-winning author of A Flag for Sunrise presents the epic sea story of two men and the strong woman whom they both love and for whom they are willing to risk everything.
Paperback, 409 pages
Published March 1st 1993 by Harper Perennial (first published 1992)
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Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outerbridge Reach is a powerful book that grabbed my attention early and held me to the end. Stone draws his characters beautifully, but is unsparing in documenting their shortcomings. Like Moby Dick, it's a story about a man and a boat, but it's also about a quest. The main character, Owen Browne, has been leading an okay life as a salesman for a yacht company, but is also feeling less connected over time with the various aspects of his life. Suddenly he has a chance to change all of this when ...more
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who loathe the happy ending.
When a 400 page book is a page turner, it must be pretty good. I can't even bring myself to write any kind of review. Two minutes ago I read about a woman closing the door to her house. That's the ending, sucker. To read this book and cozy up to the characters is to put your consciousness inside of a gray whale calf cut away from its mother, pummeled and thrashed by killer whales for hours until it dies and is eaten.
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Although I can agree with other reviewers that the book is in some ways Hemingwayan, Stone's language lacked a comparably inviting luster. In addition to the dull prose, the story was predictable and the characters undeveloped and trite. The words that a friend of mine wrote in a journal required by her teacher while she was reading OLD MAN AND THE SEA sum up my feelings of the various scenes in the book perfectly, "Same shit. Different day."
Feb 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
EPIC! What a journey Mr. Stone takes his readers in this wonderful book.
Eli Bishop
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-general
This is one of my favorite novels of any kind. It brings together everything I like about Robert Stone: characters with great potential and terrible flaws, a variety of approaches to love, a strong feeling for place and for different kinds of work, physical danger described in unusual poetic terms while still being frightening, very dark humor and gorgeous prose. It feels grounded and whole in a way that his books don't always achieve, even though he's deliberately writing against his grain, giv ...more
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Top 3 favorite novels of all time. Longtime Stone devotee. Got a few chapters in on a softcover used edition and decided I needed a hardcover first. Found a leatherbound, signed first edition online for only $7 or something. Have all his short stories, read Dogs of War--I'm going after the entire ouevre.

But it's the story, the writing that carries this thing. The Triangulation here is exquisite; there's humor, pathos, poetry and pure truth about big picture stuff that I've never come across in a
Zachary Powell
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't get enough of Robert Stone. His characters are complex and fallible. Like Phillip K. Dick, he weaves a lot of different points of view that change how you see each one. They have fantastic qualities and weak and despicable ones. Here, a documentary filmmaker with the ability of a cold perception stands as a commentary of storytelling itself. But there is more than that in this tale about a man against the sea. Like _Children of Light_ and _Dog Soldiers_, Stone has these unreal climaxes t ...more
Ann M
Starts so slowly and dully that I doubt it would ever be published these days without an already well known author. The entire first half is background for the second half. The story of an improbable sailing trip, an improbable love affair and an improbable suicide. It is serviceably written, as far as grammar, etc., but there is no foreshadowing, nothing convincing, and the attempts to include philosophy entirely flat and dull. A sheltered but gorgeous republican baby boomer wife falls for a sl ...more
Aug 24, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Outerbridge Reach, a.k.a. Rich White People Problems. Somehow, Robert Stone has made a round-the-world, solo boat race utterly boring and pretentious. The principal characters are despicable, New York naval gazing angsties, and the slow-poke events that unfold are telegraphed, out-and-out melodrama. I've been a fan of Stone's other books, so this was a huge disappointment.
good writer, but in the words of Homer J. "BORING!"
John Nino

Effective writing style, but a mediocre plot with a depressing end. A man's effort to find himself mid Aging and a want for love and companion ship. Based on other research I did seems to be a very close parallel with an earlier book by Nicholas Tomlin and Aron Hall published in 1970.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In part because I'm a sailor, I've read this masterpiece by Robert Stone three times, each time enjoying it more.
Steven Langdon
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: super
Robert Stone is the author of "Outerbridge Reach" -- a superbly probing psychological novel of three interacting characters (two men and one woman,) based on the background to and carry through of a single-handed round-the-world yachting race. The people involved are imagined vividly, the plot is taut and unpredictable and the focus of the book is credible and sharp, even as it raises fundamental human questions and dilemmas. It is an excellent novel, that I rate very highly.

Owen Browne is the l
Joe Johnston
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone over 15 or so - some sex in it
Recommended to Joe by: NYT book review
One of the best novels I've ever read. Based very loosely on a true story, it's about a marketing executive for a yacht company who embarks on a round-the-world solo sailing contest and then runs into a LOT of trouble. Meanwhile, his wife is back home, dealing with her husband's quixotic quest and the attentions of a documentary filmmaker who seems pretty cleary based on Errol Morris. Terrific book.
Mar 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Expert at revealing characters/character thru conversation.
I wasn't able to engage in the story or the characters though. Felt very 1950s in a unsatisfactory way for me. I have known about the author and he was an original member of the Merry Pranksters (Ken Kesey)and has won many literary honors. He recently died so wanted to check out one of his books which I had read a review of in the New York Times in the 90s'
Luke Sweeney
I suppose this would be my least favorite of Robert Stone's work I've read, but that doesn't mean it's bad, relatively speaking. The book jacket called it a "Classic American Story" but I disagree -- I thought it subverted the more obvious summon-the-strength, conquering man tropes. The book is expertly written, like everything else I've read by RS, but it was a little unsatisfying. I was little disappointed in Anne, the wife. In any case, a solid 3 stars.
Larry Scarzfava
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, Stone gives us an incredible novel peopled with characters whose dissatisfaction with life causes them to take desperate action. The prose is beautiful, and the protagonist's interior ramblings as his sea voyage breaks down his sanity is, at times, flawless and superb. Surely, Robert Stone is at the top of his game here.
Steve Mayer
Moby Dick as imagined by Joan Didion. A man determined to discovery reality and truth embarks on a solo sailing rice around the world. It's hard to describe what happens without spoilers, so I won't. Suffice it to say that some of the book is incomprehensible, some is wonderful, and some chokes on its own cleverness and irony.
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read it years ago; I think it was a Book of the Month club book I got because I didn't send back the card. I wasn't enamored of it; if I remember correctly it moved rather slowly. I do remember that I sold it to a used book store because I decided I'd never read it again. Normally when I like a book I will re-read it.
Miles Kelly
A slow moving book with some good sea passages. The main characters are never entirely believable and the way the book ends, all their lives seem to have turned completely about face which undermines their credibility even further. That said it had some very good moments and held my interest to the implausible end.
Linda Rehberg
Sep 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever notice there are just some books that you read at the exact right time in your life and they hit you with a wallop? This was one of those books for me. It really, really got to me and I felt as if I was on that sailboat beside him, wanting desperately to change his course. I'd like to reread it one of these days to see if would still have that powerful effect on me.
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sea-stories
Off to a strong start and very nautical then moves into a sort of Ancient Mariner mode that I did not enjoy so much. The protagonist is an Annapolis graduate who is at book's beginning a yacht broker who undertakes to trial a new design. Psychological issues. Recommend to anyone who likes yachts or sea stories or single-handed sailing stories.
Steve Woods
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-good-read
This is a fascinating read. it traces the devolution of the three main characters from the set predictability of themselves through the ordered preparatio for an insane essay into an around the world race. No one is prepared for what comes. We, none of us is ever what we think we are and certainly never that which we project to others.
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his fictionalised account of the Donald Crowhurst affair (the lone yachtsman who faked his round-the-world voyage before committing suicide), Robert Stone uses some of the same characters as appeared in Dog Soldiers: the weak central character moved to a desperate course of action, his wife who is better than he is, and the cynic who wants her. It's bleak, but a well-written tale.
Jul 07, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A yacht salesman who is going through a down time elects to participate in an around the world (solo) race, using his company's new yacht, but he doesn't know it is flawed. He doesn't account for the severe depression that accompanies his being alone at sea for so long.
Mwaoshe  Njemah
An interesting book, but by no means great. I only ever finished it on the second attempt.
Stone has Hemingwayan pretences, but he is no Ernest.
The book has a great plot, vividly imagined characters and a good pace to it, but Stone stretches himself too thin on this one
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
See review for A Flag for Sunrise
Aug 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this quite a few years ago, but I remember really, really liking it, particularly the sea passages. I think I will re-read it soon.
Apr 07, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An extremely disappointing novel of middle class angst. I had heard good things about the book and about Stone's work in general, but I found the book to be surprisingly bad.
A fine writer, a somewhat over-loaded book.
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ROBERT STONE was the author of seven novels: A Hall of Mirrors, Dog Soldiers (winner of the National Book Award), A Flag for Sunrise, Children of Light, Outerbridge Reach, Damascus Gate, and Bay of Souls. His story collection, Bear and His Daughter, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and his memoir, Prime Green, was published in 2006.
His work was typically characterized by psychological compl
More about Robert Stone...