Friday, October 27, 2017


I just finished reading The North Water by Ian McGuire; a story about whaling but more than anything a journey into the heart of darkness.
I can't think of any other (fiction) book that is so dark, gruesome and awful, yet at the same time beautifully written and impossible to put down.
The whaling station and crew at Trinidad, California Aug. 1923
The north water is where the whales are, and this novel is about the dying days of Hull’s whaling industry, in the late 1850s.
The North Water is as much about the human relationship with the wild as it is about the relationships of one character to another. The strength of The North Water lies in its well-researched detail and persuasive descriptions of the cold, violence, cruelty and the raw, bloody business of whale-killing.
On the whale hunt, as depicted on the coat of arms of Biarritz

No berets feature in the book, but whalers certainly were boineros; choosing a hat for it's qualities and comfort, evident on old (and not so old) photographs of whalers in the United States, the Basque Country and Australia. 
The flensing deck of Tangalooma whaling station, Moreton Island, Australia 1960. 

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