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Wrack Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Bolinda Audio; Unabridged edition (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1743139756
  • ISBN-13: 978-1743139752
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,475,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Shipwrecks and lost loves, the Mercator projection and sand dunes, 20th-century passions and the age of exploration: this ambitious first novel by James Bradley crosses continents and centuries to explore the notion that Australia may have been discovered by the Portuguese. David is an Australian archaeologist combing sand dunes that he thinks may be hiding an ancient Portuguese ship. What he finds instead is a human body from the 1940s. An old hermit named Kurt Seligmann advances mysteriously to the fore of the narrative, voicing memories that may or may not touch on the history of this corpse. More crucially to the obsessed David, Kurt seems to possess some knowledge of the fabled sand-sunk ship. As the old man slips away into illness, David's former lover, Dr. Claire Sen, joins him at his bedside vigil. David and Claire find their own doomed story subtly twinned in Kurt's tale of obsession and love in wartime Australia.

Genuinely gripping, ingeniously plotted, and always convincingly researched, Bradley's novel has plenty of propulsive intelligence to keep the reader hooked. Bradley's first book was a volume of award-winning poetry, and he brings a poet's aptitude for language and repeated images to Wrack. Sometimes, however, this preoccupation hamstrings an otherwise compelling adventure tale. Imagery of shards crops up incessantly, which is perhaps a bit literal-minded for a novel with an archaeologist protagonist. "A memory, or perhaps less than a memory, a shard, a fragment" is a typical (fragmented) sentence--not very helpful prose and not even very nice poetry. If a book is going to invoke Michael Ondaatje as heavily as this one does, it needs to deliver more compelling writing. Still, fans of The English Patient--and Dava Sobel's Longitude, for that matter--should find much to admire in Bradley's cleverly looped and configured tale of ships at sea and lovers in sand. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A seamless fusion of dramatic wartime love story, historical fiction and archeological murder mystery, Australian writer Bradley's accomplished debut novel has a dreamlike compulsion. Archeologist David Norfolk, obsessively searching for a 16th-century Portuguese ship wrecked on the coast of New South Wales, digs up the body of a man shot to death 50 years earlier. An Ondaatjean hermit, cantankerous, cancer-ridden and living in a nearby shack, holds the clue both to the victim's identity and the ship's whereabouts. As David and his ex-girlfriend Dr. Claire Sen tend to the dying recluse, Kurt Seligmann, and resume a romance of their own, they listen to their patient reminisce about the years 1937-1942, when he was an archeologist from Sidney, living in occupied Singapore and embroiled in an affair with the wife of his mentor and best friend, Fraser McDonald. (The corpse on the beach, it turns out, could be Fraser.) Seligmann, too, once searched for the wreck that Norfolk seeksAa ship that, if found, could challenge Tasman and Cook's claim to have discovered the continent and would explain the presence of the land mass on Renaissance maps. Bradley adroitly interpolates details of the fierce rivalry between the 16th-century Spanish and Portuguese empires, and fascinating lore on mapmaking. His prose, which alternates between clipped, declarative statements and lyrical, metaphor-filled cadenzas, may make too sweet a meal for some readers. The novel's concluding wordsA"the past is... a shifting sea with nothing at its center, except illusions, and loss"Aexemplifies the kind of generalization that weakens this otherwise suspenseful story. Yet Bradley's skill in interweaving the novel's strands to create a graceful meditation on death, ambition and obsession creates a memorable novel. (May) FYI: Wrack won two Australian literary awards and was shortlisted for the 1998 Commonwealth Writers Prize for best first book.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Allow this thoroughly visual and original novel take you away.
R. Watkins
Surely Bradley could have written a much more fascinating ending,but perhaps he was exhausted after having come so far.
"casasera"
This was the first novel by James Bradley I have read, and I was disappointed in it -- but I will read another.
disheveledprofessor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The characters seemed shallow, without depth given to some of their pasts. The plot droned on and on...with me pursuing only to find the ending, which was disappointing. The lack of quotation punctuation was annoying. It felt like a cheap show with gratuitous sex thrown in for appeal. If you like historic mystery try: City of Light instead.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amelia on February 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
I read 'Wrack' for my final year at High School in Australia and upon first reading it found it to be uninteresting and dreaded spending a year studing 'Wrack'. After re-reading it and discussing it with my teacher and classmates I discoved the many layers of this very deep and suprising novel. Bradley explores so many issues in this book and examines the characters relationships on many levels that I finished my school days feeling that I had read a great novel by a very talented writer.
So give 'Wrack' a chance - it's a great book!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By disheveledprofessor on September 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
This was the first novel by James Bradley I have read, and I was disappointed in it -- but I will read another.
I picked up "Wrack" because of the idea of mapmaking. I anticipated a riveting novel and the unraveling of a puzzle, along the lines of Sobel's Longitude [yes, I realize it is not a novel]. The plot was predictable, and the ultimate denouement was an anticlimax.
That said, I think Bradley is a gifted writer. Two quotes: "Although he ... believes in the coded and ordered knowledge of science, the structured discourse of academic debate, he feels the pull of other places, other times." And: "We know so little. And it's only when we come to try and understand why something might have happened that we realize how poor and cheap our tools of understanding are. Forensics, memories, the law; but in the end they're all just matches we're striking in the darkness." Bradley is able to do what few contemporary writers even attempt: he expresses, and expresses well, our unuttered fears and limitations. A writer with that talent deserves a second reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This story of intersecting love triangles is a thoroughly absorbing but ultimately unsatisfying read. The opening pages promise a depth of emotion that is never fully realized as the book prgresses. Still the skillfull writing and a powerful grasp of history show that Bradley is capable of great things. I expect to see truly extraordinary work as his writing matures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "casasera" on April 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
One cannot help but notice the similarity between THE WRACK and the ENGLISH PATIENT. I made two attempts before I could finish EP and as I began this work, I made up my mind I would hang in no matter what. About 20 pages into the book I began to really try to dislike the author for jumping around so much just as in EP. I also found the absence of quotation marks irritating, butI thought, that's my hang-up. Hard as I tried to dislike Bradley for confusing me, I have to admit the book intrigued me. He is a very knowledgable chap supplying much history, most of which I will never remember. I liked Claire but thought David pretty shallow. I felt Bradley wove such a tale he was at a loss on how to finish it...very banal ending. Surely Bradley could have written a much more fascinating ending,but perhaps he was exhausted after having come so far.
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Format: Paperback
"Wrack. A Novel" by James Bradley.
Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1998.

A novel set in Australia, about two love stories that take place fifty years apart, brought together by the common theme of the search for the Portuguese ship, the first European vessel to discover Australia.

In the late 1930s, just before World War II erupted, Kurt and Veronica became involved. Veronica Marshall was upper class, and Kurt Seligman a poor student. Kurt worries about the condition of his poor clothes, his inability to pay the lunch tab, etc., but Veronica ignores all of that. They become lovers. But then, Veronica marries Fraser McDonald. Not only has Kurt lost Veronica, his lover, but, of all things, she has become the wife of his thesis advisor! Heaven help us.

The second love story is between David and Claire and set in the 1990s. David is a widower and Claire, a medical doctor, has just moved back after a failed affair. In some sense, then, both individuals are on the "rebound". Fortunately, Claire, as a doctor, is available to keep the old man, Kurt, medicated and alive as David attempts to pry the secret from him of the Portuguese ship.

And the ship is the central unifying theme of this book. Sixty plus years ago, Fraser McDonald and Kurt Seligman were looking for the wreck of the Portuguese mahogany ship that was rumored to have sailed around the continent of Australia. In the 1990s, David is looking for the same vessel. Kurt is dying and Claire assists David by keeping the old man, Kurt, both alive and lucid.

The story jumps back and forth between Kurt/Veronica and David/Claire, with side explanations of the Portuguese exploration of Africa, India and the Orient.
Read more ›
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. L Sadler VINE VOICE on June 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book was a surprise to me...I thought it was merely a mystery from all the reviews I had read, and even from the cover of the book itself. Yet the mystery turned out not to be as compelling as the historical story and the story of dual obsessions. The intelligent narration of the story within a story proved to be confusing sometimes, yet overall the writing was spectacular. This young author has a definite way with words and descriptions of the possible discovery of Australia by the Portuguese proved to be one of the most compelling historical fiction I have read in years. The research and incorporation of the cartographic science involved, and also the tale of scientific obsession which leads to jealousy, bitterness, and rivalry is all too credible. I personally am not crazy about the use of objectional language, especially if it serves no purpose to move the story along (which I felt was the case here). However, Bradley's impressive language use and insights into the links between the past, present, and future made for an exquisite book.
This book is a definite must for readers who enjoy mysteries with plausible historical context and for those who enjoy writers who are masterful practitioners of the English language. Karen Sadler, Science Education, University of Pittsburgh
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