The Last Shipwrecked Sailor by Joseph Ezzo

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“I ought to know, really, I should, because I was there when it happened. Problem is, I can’t remember. I seem to have a problem with memory.”

The Last Shipwrecked Sailor is a cycle of five novels in one; each novel can be read separately and independently of the others. By turns satirical, picaresque, realistic, surreal, bawdy, lyrical, hopeful, and absurd, it recounts the unlikely adventures of Q, a continually lost and alienated soul whose fate lies somewhere between Gulliver and Forrest Gump. Q suffers from long-term memory loss; he appears to be forever in quest of finding home, but has no idea where or what home might be. Instead he lands in one strange, perplexing world after another, each time the result of a shipwreck. He is more observer than participant, a nondescript, innocuous sort with a penchant for falling helplessly into hair-raising life-or-death situations.

Q is repeatedly recruited into roles he never could have anticipated; whether dragged into a cadre of violent slavers, an idealistic group of natives bent on armed rebellion, becoming a husband to a polyandrous woman, a recorder of prisoner of war confessions, or a reluctant fighter among child soldiers in a seemingly endless war, he has no choice but to accept his fate and cope with events all around him, no matter how quixotic they might be. His adventures range across landscapes both realistic and fantastic and include assisting a shape-shifting coyote searching for his lost love, accompanying an epic hero who protects his people by dispatching life-destroying monsters, listening to the wisdom of a gentle man of faith while incarcerated in a brutal prison camp, being fattened up for sacrifice by a village of cannibals, and escaping (any number of times) from the shadow-world of the dead.

Inspired by the literatures of Africa and native North and South America, as well as epics such as the Volsunga Saga, the Ramayana, and the Metamorphosis, The Last Shipwrecked Sailor dramatizes human behavior that is long on sin, woefully short on redemption. At nearly a half-million words, this cycle of novels is a unique and essential reading experience.

About Joseph Ezzo

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Published March 6, 2012 1343 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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readers must sift through many pages to find Ezzo’s most insightful passages, which are stark yet striking, even though they dissipate quickly.

May 11 2012 | Read Full Review of The Last Shipwrecked Sailor

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