Voyage to the North Star by Peter Nichols

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Synopsis

America is marching headlong into the Depression. Unemployment is rife, Reds are protesting in New York's streets, but on the waterfront Prohibition has failed to water down the beer. The rich are meanwhile getting richer, and the poor only more destitute, in this powerfully wrought novel that crosses the paths of two men from opposite ends of the social spectrum. While the industrialist and sometime big-game hunter Carl Schenck has amassed a fortune fabulous enough to expect the world to cater to his whims, seaman Will Boden has lost his boat, his wife, and his reputation. Second chances don't come easily to a captain who's abandoned his own ship - until Schenck's determination to organize an Arctic safari presents Boden with the opportunity to do what no seasoned seaman would: to navigate a luxuriously appointed but ill-equipped yacht, the Lodestar, through perilous Polar waters. Its adventure as harrowing as a tale by Jack London, its vision as haunting as Joseph Conrad's, this remarkable novel pitches the master and crew of the Lodestar into the grip of treacherous Arctic seas and moral disaster. Praise for Sea Change by Peter Nichols: "Marvelous . . . In his understated telling of the story, he never seeks your sympathy. He just breaks your heart." - New York Times Book Review "A heartbreaking and harrowing sea tale" - Los Angeles Times
 

About Peter Nichols

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A Bristol-born former actor and schoolteacher, Peter Nichols got his start writing some 14 plays for television and has continued to write for that medium even since attaining success in the West End. A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, his first stage play, was produced in England in 1967 and on Broadway a year later. Joe Egg (as a squeamish American management insisted it be retitled) concerns a couple whose marriage is slowly being destroyed by their attempt to raise a hopelessly spastic daughter (Josephine, alias Joe Egg, their "living parsnip"). They survive in their situation as long as they do only by ceaselessly joking about it. This comic distancing, as much as its autobiographical revelation, was to be the common characteristic of Nichols's later plays. Forget-Me-Not-Lane (1971), distinctly personal in its middle-aged re-examination of a World War II childhood, has characters stepping back and forth through time and in and out of the dramatic situation. In Passion Play (1981), Nichols's characters even break away from themselves, each partner in a bickering couple splitting into mutually critical components. The National Health (1969), produced to general acclaim at the National Theatre, achieves its distancing through the alternation of realistic scenes of suffering and dying in a hospital ward with episodes of an outrageous medical soap opera, Nurse Norton's Affair, shown on a simulated television screen. And in the ironic musical episodes of Privates on Parade (1977), the story of an army entertainment troupe in the 1950s, Nichols entered the area of alienating theatricalism explored by John Osborne's The Entertainer (1957) and Joan Littlewood's Oh, What a Lovely War. Privates, a Royal Shakespeare Company hit of 1977, has been made into a film, as have Joe Egg and The National Health. (Nichols also wrote the screenplay for the 1966 film satire Georgy Girl.)
 
Published October 14, 1999 by Carroll & Graf. 352 pages
Genres: History, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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These independent-minded early settlers observed the Indians’ method of capturing migratory whales on shore, before the fisheries invented deep-sea whaling voyages which essentially emptied the seas of whales by the mid-18th century and forced the hunters to prowl farther afield, in the Pacific a...

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Kirkus Reviews

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A well-detailed, fast-paced chronicle of the Sunday Times of London’s 1968 Golden Globe Race, in which nine men attempted to sail nonstop around the world alone.

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Publishers Weekly

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This is a first novel by the author of Sea Change, an account of his solo voyage across the Atlantic, and here, too, Nichols writes of the sea and ships with great feeling and accuracy.

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