The Yellow Sailor by Steve Weiner

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Synopsis

Steve Weiner's debut novel, The Museum of Love, was met with extraordinary praise that called up comparisons to "the delirious raw immediacy of the novels of Céline, Burroughs, and Genet and the cinematic disjunctions of Kronenberg and Lynch." (Los Angeles Times Book Review)

His extraordinary new novel, moodily operatic in tone and by turns hallucinatory and brilliantly detailed, follows the trajectories of four sailors and the owner of a German merchant ship, Yellow Sailor, which sets sail from Bremen in 1914. After the ship wrecks in shallow water, the men drift their separate ways, with each man's journey across a desolate wartime European landscape becoming an exploration of the failure of love, sex, religion, and friendship. Julius Bernai, owner of the ship and frankly homosexual, checks into an institute for nervous disorders and falls in love with the doctor's fiancée. Nicholas Bremml drifts: from the beds of numerous prostitutes to an oil tanker called Erwartung— Expectation—to Prague's Jewish market, where he sells magic spells. Brothers Karl and Alois are equally rudderless, and Jacek, the electrician, goes to work in the mines, where his love advice to a fourteen year old Polish boy precipitates a macabre murder.

Elegantly grotesque and baroquely compelling, The Yellow Sailor is a chiaroscuroed search for love, dimly and briefly lit by flashes of hope, until gorgeous hallucinations beckoning with a seductive nothingness overwhelm the bleak and tentative future.
 

About Steve Weiner

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Steve Weiner was born in Wisconsin, studies writing at the University of California and went on to study film animation. His first novel was published in eight countries to wide acclaim and shortlisted for Canada's prestigious Giller Prize. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
 
Published October 29, 2001 by Overlook. 211 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Yellow Sailor

Publishers Weekly

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Several German sailors wander through Europe after a shipwreck in Weiner's murky, surreal second novel (after Museum of Love), set at the beginning of WWI.

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Book Reporter

The recurring theme of homosexuality among many of the characters --- whether real or as a derogatory labeling --- works with the Bernai story, but seems out of place with the others.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of The Yellow Sailor

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