The Ordinary Seaman by Francisco Goldman

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The Ordinary Seaman, the second novel from acclaimed writer Francisco Goldman is a lyrical and spellbinding story of hope, despair, and the promise of love. The ordinary seaman is Esteban, a 19-year-old veteran of the war in Nicaragua, who has come to America with 14 other men to form the crew of the Urus. Docked on a desolate Brooklyn pier, the Urus is a wreck, and the men, without the means to return home, become its prisoners. Esteban, haunted by the loss of his first love in the war, gradually works up the courage to escape the ship and start a new life in the city. His story and those of his shipmates come to life, illuminating the conflicts and triumphs of the human heart.

About Francisco Goldman

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Francisco Goldman is the author of three previous works of fiction (The Long Night of White Chickens, The Ordinary Seaman, and The Divine Husband), and one work of nonfiction, The Art of Political Murder. His first novel, The Long Night of White Chickens, was awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and The Ordinary Seaman, his second novel, was a finalist for the International IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a Fellow at the New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers. Currently the Allan K. Smith Professor of English at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, Francisco's writing has appeared in publications including the New Yorker, Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and the New York Review of Books. He lives in New York City and Mexico City. Winner of the prestigious Audie Award for his recording of Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic by Gordon S. Wood, veteran actor Robert Fass is equally at home in a wide variety of styles, genres, characters, and dialects. Robert also earned an Earphones Award for his narration of Francisco Goldman's novel Say Her Name, which was named one of the Best Audiobooks of 2011 by AudioFile magazine. He has given voice to modern and classic fiction writers alike, including Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Isaac Asimov, Jeffrey Deaver, and John Steinbeck, plus nonfiction works in history, health, journalism, and business. For eleven years, Robert was featured weekly on the InTouch network, broadcasting selections from the New Yorker magazine to the visually impaired.
Published January 20, 1998 by Grove Press. 400 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Westerns. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A bizarre set of circumstances (inspired by a true story) vividly wrought, but even more memorable is Goldman's fresh and moving take on such matters as longing, love, cruelty, and fellowship, probed in a poignant and original narrative.

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Publishers Weekly

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A voyage of the damned, albeit on a ship that never sails, is the framing concept of this powerful narrative. Fifteen desperate men lured from Central America by the promise of work aboard a freighter

Feb 02 1997 | Read Full Review of The Ordinary Seaman

Publishers Weekly

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When Esteban surreptitiously leaves the ship and prowls the ethnic neighborhoods of Brooklyn in search of food and succor, the story opens out and presents a fascinating picture of a corner of America as seen through unsophisticated eyes.

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