The North Water
"A fast-paced, gripping story set in a world of gruesome violence and perversity, where 'why?' is not a question and murder happens on a whim: but where a very faint ray of grace and hope lights up the landscape of salt and blood and ice. A tour de force of narrative tension and a masterful reconstruction of a lost world that seems to exist at the limits of the human...more
"(...) I think it's brilliant. (...) At times I have to confess I did ask myself: is he heaping on…moreThis is part of Hilary Mantel's review of the book:
"(...) I think it's brilliant. (...) At times I have to confess I did ask myself: is he heaping on too many layers of horrid detail, just to provoke a shudder? But then I thought, no, it is the reality of this extraordinary world, the details of which would remain mercifully obscure to the consumers of the whale oil; they would never guess how their light is bred in such darkness. It's as horrific as a journal from the trenches of the Great War, or from the field of some atrocity.
The North Water is a fast-paced, gripping story set in a world of gruesome violence and perversity, where “why?” is not a question and murder happens on a whim: but where a very faint ray of grace and hope lights up the landscape of salt and blood and ice. (...)"(less)
The Yorkshire whaler named the Volunteer is on its way to the Arctic Circle to hunt for whales. While other whalers go South, ...more
Jack London on Steroids!
This novel contains foul language, horrific gore, rape, murder, animal cruelty, and other examples of total moral bankruptcy and I absolutely loved it.
Why? How could I?
I loved it for the author’s laser-focused descriptive writing and realistic character development. I loved it for its highly suspenseful story and well-researched and seamlessly-blended historical detail. I loved it for its outward exploration of the Arctic world and for its more inward moral and ...more
"I'd venture the Good Lord don't spend much time up here in the North Water," he says with a smile. "It's most probable he don't like the chill."
if Moby-Dick; or, The Whale had been more like this, i would have loved it. note to melville - next time, less rope & anatomy, more murder & brutality. you're a young kid, hermie, you'll get there…
this book is grit lit gone to sea, where all the staples of the ...more
I am judging Hilary Mantel for blurbing this so hard right now...
grueling misadventures on a 19th century whaling ship.
well I suppose I have to admire how sustained the effort is. Ian McGuire is relentlessly focused on the visceral, that's for certain "...they drip not blood, as usual, but some foul straw-colored coagulation like the unspeakable rectal oozings of a human corpse..." yeah that phrase pretty much sums up the novel. the author wants to repel the reader. very little depth and zero resonance but a whole lot of brutality, atrocity, and ...more
Enter a man followed by a man
Man : Whut? Awk! (dies)
Enter a whale followed by several whalers
Whale : Aw shit! Ugh! No! (dies)
Enter a dog followed by a bear
Dog : Yah! Fuck you! Bark! (dies)
Enter a bear followed by a man
Bear : Aw hell, no – urghhhh! (dies)
Enter three men
First man : (dies)
Second man : (dies)
Enter an author
Ian McGuire : And that’s how you get four stars from Paul Bryant. Easy!
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce a new boy to the club of horror. "... and something else, something wholly different, has appeared instead. This courtyard has become a place of vile magic, of blood-soaked transmutations, and Henry Drax is its wild, unholy engineer."
While blurbs will ...more
It’s 1850’s England and we are first introduced to ...more
Just a few of the things you can expect to read about in this no-holds-barred Victorian adventure on a whaling ship. Sounds good, right?
It is. Really, really good.
Long-listed for the 2016 Booker Prize, I feel the same delight in its nomination that I did for His Bloody Project: Documents Relating to the ...more
A very good reading. Gripping and engrossing even if at most times truly gruesome. I know some readers were whining on mega-literality in characterising people and their deeds, couldn't stomach scatological descriptions and direly vulgar language, well, the proverb to swear as a sailor didn’t come out of nowhere, I suppose, found some protagonists exaggerated, cartoonish and grotesque even and filthiness and all this mindless brutality just put them off. I can see their point. Really. But it ...more
I feel two ways about this novel. On the one hand, there is some very violent stuff in this book. Rape and murder and guiltless violence all around. There are frequent derogatory words directed at other races and women. But on the other hand (and forgive me but there really ...more
I listened to this on audio and the narrator John Keating was most excellent. I would love to hear more of his work in the future.
I enjoyed the hell out of this brutal story, but it's not for ...more
This is a dark and unsettling novel. The outline of the story may make it seem like a murder mystery, but this is far more literary fiction than a thriller. The writing is violent and ...more
Every year I come across a book or two that I want to press on EVERY reader I know. This, after just a few salty pages, quickly became one of them. Keep in mind: if savage language and limb-tearing action makes you queasy, it might not be for you. Furthermore, try to read this in the winter. I bet your chilly, slushy commute ain’t got nothing on what the characters in this book endure.
The North Water is about a doomed expedition heading up to the Arctic Circle. It’s the 1850s, and the whaling ...more
The North Water reads like Jack London on crack. It is an extremely visceral story of the final days of the whaling boom when, in order to hunt the ever dwindling herds ...more
I say that because this book is filled with the stench of mid-19th century aromas from the privy, for the most part. McGuire really likes to indulge in the smells of a more malodorous age, packing the book with instances, on just about every page, with some mention of smells of urine and faeces and beer-laden farts. It's really a teen boy's ...more
It tells the story of a doomed whaling voyage in the 1850s. The Volunteer sets sail from Hull with the motliest of crews, made up of brutes and savages and skippered by the dubious Captain Brownlee. In the first few pages we meet Henry Drax, a vicious harpooner with a thirst for murder. He ...more
4.5 stars (reread Jan 2018 for A-team book club)
Behold the man....more
He snuffles out of Clappison's courtyard onto Sykes Street and snuffs the complex air—turpentine, fishmeal, mustard, black lead, the usual grave, morning-piss stink of just-emptied night jars. He snorts once, rubs his bristled head, and readjusts his crotch. He sniffs his fingers, then slowly sucks each one in turn, drawing off the last remnants, getting his final money's worth. At the end of Charterhouse Lane he turns north onto Wincolmlee, past the De La Pole
and look, if you're thinking well I am certainly not interested in reading about baby seal clubbing - it gets super into it, too, it describes them waddling desperately away but the thing with baby seals is they're so slow - does this sound awful to you? You won't like anything else about this book either. I give it five stars. My Tinder profile says "Enjoys books about clubbing baby seals."
I'm probably, what, the ten millionth person to do this shitty ...more
Not sure what this says about me, but the violence, blood and gore, and ruthless killing of both men and ...more
The North Water is certainly not for the faint-hearted. It tells the tale of the ill-fated voyage of a whaling ship in the 19th century. It is violent and shocking in places, with plenty of blood, guts and lurid descriptions of bodily fluids. The body count is pretty high. It is certainly not my usual read, but nevertheless I found it thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining. I am slightly perpelexed by its inclusion on the Man Booker longlist, as it ...more
|Title #5||2||44||Dec 04, 2017 11:35PM|
|Play Book Tag: The North Water by Ian McGuire - 4 Stars||2||12||Nov 18, 2017 06:27PM|
|Ancient & Medieva...: September 2017 Group Read; The North Water by Ian McGuire||49||87||Oct 17, 2017 02:02PM|
|MidCoast Librarie...: Title #5||13||13||Mar 29, 2017 10:32PM|