We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen

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Synopsis

Carsten Jensen’s debut novel has taken the world by storm. Already hailed in Europe as an instant classic, We, the Drowned is the story of the port town of Marstal, whose inhabitants have sailed the world’s oceans aboard freight ships for centuries. Spanning over a hundred years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the Second World War, and from the barren rocks of Newfoundland to the lush plantations of Samoa, from the roughest bars in Tasmania, to the frozen coasts of northern Russia, We, the Drowned spins a magnificent tale of love, war, and adventure, a tale of the men who go to sea and the women they leave behind.

Ships are wrecked at sea and blown up during wars, they are places of terror and violence, yet they continue to lure each generation of Marstal men—fathers and sons—away. Strong, resilient, women raise families alone and sometimes take history into their own hands. There are cannibals here, shrunken heads, prophetic dreams, forbidden passions, cowards, heroes, devastating tragedies, and miraculous survivals—everything that a town like Marstal has actually experienced, and that makes We, the Drowned an unforgettable novel, destined to take its place among the greatest seafaring literature.

 

About Carsten Jensen

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As a boy in Marstal, Denmark, CARSTEN JENSEN sailed on his father's boat, a 220-ton freighter named the Abelone. In 2000, he returned to Marstal to write We, the Drowned. He has also worked as a literary critic and a journalist, reporting from China, Cambodia, Latin America, the Pacific Islands, and Afghanistan. We, the Drowned won Denmark's most important literary prize, while also being selected by readers of a major daily newspaper as the best Danish novel of the last twenty-five years. It was a bestseller throughout Scandinavia and in Germany, and has also been published in the United Kingdom, Spain, and France.
 
Published February 9, 2011 by Mariner Books. 693 pages
Genres: History, Action & Adventure, War, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for We, the Drowned

Kirkus Reviews

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Jensen (I Have Seen the World Begin: Travels Through China, Cambodia, and Vietnam, 2002, etc.) peoples his long, expertly told saga with figures from Danish history as well as of his own invention, from Crown Prince Frederik to a ship’s captain who “remained equally pale in summer and winter, in ...

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BC Books

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We, The Drowned by Carsten Jensen is an spellbinding, award winning (Danske Banks Litteraturpris) fictional book which spans 100 years in the lives of the inhabitants of the small Danish coastal town Marstal.

Feb 03 2011 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

The Wall Street Journal

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Albert's antidote to greed and blood-lust is fellowship, symbolized by the breakwater that Marstal builds to protect the port town from storms, and he desperately tries to preserve that spirit of community as Europe is ripped apart by World War I.

Feb 10 2011 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

Los Angeles Times

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architecture takes the lead in Getty's new PST project - Arts & Culture - latimes.com 03/11/2013, 10:59 a.m. ...

Apr 17 2011 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

Los Angeles Times

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Near the end of the novel, amid the destruction of war, Carsten writes, "The dead had been piling up throughout our entire lives: the drowned and the missing, all of those who'd remained unburied across the centuries…and we danced with the drowned.

Apr 17 2011 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

The Washington Post

The North Sea boils on the west, the Baltic on the east, and for centuries, Marstal ships - mostly wooden - sailed the seven seas.

Feb 22 2011 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

The Bookbag

Summary: Epic novel of the sea starts in a small Danish town in 1848 and spans 97 years and much of the globe.

Mar 14 2011 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

Dallas News

Knud Erik’s mother, Klara Friis, tries her best to prevent her son from going to sea, the same sea that claimed the life of her husband.

Feb 24 2011 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

Washington Independent Review of Books

For centuries countless sailors from Marstal, Denmark, drowned in the insatiable sea.

Mar 18 2011 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

San Francisco Chronicle

Laurids disappears at sea, and Albert - playing Telemachus to his father's Odysseus - traces the wanderer to a remote Pacific island.

Mar 06 2011 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

Review (Barnes & Noble)

It's tempting to call this immense and immensely engrossing novel a Danish One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Feb 25 2011 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

Scotsman.com

The war leaves him a changed man, however, and shortly after it ends, ignoring his wife's pleas that he should take a job on land, he boards a ship headed for Van Diemen's Land – now Tasmania – and disappears.

Apr 23 2010 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

The New Yorker

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Mar 14 2011 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

Metro

Bleak, thrilling and colourful, Carsten Jensen’s splendid seafaring epic brings vividly to life the adventures of generations of mariners from the small Danish town of Marstal – men such as Laurids Madsen, his son Albert and Albert’s protégé Knud-Erik.

Apr 07 2010 | Read Full Review of We, the Drowned

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