Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sailor Twain - Review

Title: Sailor Twain
Author: Mark Siegel
Source: Library

One hundred years ago. On the foggy Hudson River, a riverboat captain rescues an injured mermaid from the waters of the busiest port in the United States. A wildly popular—and notoriously reclusive—author makes a public debut. A French nobleman seeks a remedy for a curse. As three lives twine together and race to an unexpected collision, the mystery of the Mermaid of the Hudson deepens.

A mysterious and beguiling love story with elements of Poe, Twain, Hemingway, and Greek mythology, drawn in moody black-and-white charcoal, Sailor Twain is a study in romance, atmosphere, and suspense.

My thoughts:

I was walking through the library one day, and this book was propped up on the shelf in the graphic novels section, its gorgeous cover in shades of blue and green and mystery beckoning to me. I  had to check it out and read it immediately. Maybe this book has a siren's song of its own?

Gritty, a little bit gloomy, it reminded me of the depths of the sea, if there was a word to describe how that ocean bottom would feel. Deep and dark, murky and mysterious. Where mermaids dwell. We all know mermaids are said to be heartless and soulless and dangerous, seducing people to their deaths. But if they were real, wouldn't we want to meet one? Like fairies and unicorns, they are magical and curious and otherworldly. The illustrations themselves are beautiful, and reminiscent of the industrial era that this story is set in, all smoky and black and dusty.

Riverboat Captain Elijah Twain is an upright, moral, stand up man. No nonsense and serious, he is the last person you would imagine to fall in thrall to a creature such as a mermaid. He is happily married to his lady love, who is bound to a wheelchair, and to land. He is even drawn angular and sharp, no soft edges to him, that would invite such fancifulness, although I feel riverboat captains are by nature romantic figures.  In contrast, French nobleman Lafayette falls in love with almost every woman he meets, speaks of the river and the world around him as a poet would, and seems the least responsible human being on earth. The very opposite of Twain. Of the two, Lafayette is a romantic dreamer, while Twain is a pragmatic realist. They go about their lives upon the river, one engaged in many trysts, one bent on business. Until one night this happens:

What is the deal? Who is this mermaid? Where did she come from? What happens next? You will have to read it to find out! 

One note: This book really isn't for kids. There is the obvious nudity of the mermaid, and other more sexy times illustrations. I was surprised at first, because my library had a sticker over the John Irving blurb that states the book contains erotically charged drawings.  So, just in case you didn't see that, there are a few sexual drawings. 

I have fallen in love with this genre of books that all began with the book Blankets. Sailor Twain was completely different, but just as entertaining and thought provoking. It is a story that draws you in and holds you under until you reach the end. 

1 comment:

  1. Although I don't think that this is my thing, it sounds interesting and certainly different.
    New follower. Added you to my RSS. Looking forward to your posts.
    -Dilettantish Reader


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