- Hardcover: 395 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1st edition (1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0440046173
- ISBN-13: 978-0440046172
- Package Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,255,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Long Voyage Back Hardcover – 1983
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Top Customer Reviews
i am not a person that understands nautical world, or being on a sailboat, at all, but as always, context is everything. i got through it by getting the main idea, when confronted with confusing seaboard language and terms. also, i googled a pic of the boat they used- quite an unusual boat, and not one i could have pictured on my own- it helped me to visualize what was happening.
the cover does show the boat, but i found it useful to look at more pictures, so i could understand it better- the boat on the cover does not show the entire boat with the various different size sails. however, the cover does very nicely depict the essence of the story.
this book reminded me in a way of a much earlier novel of nuclear destruction: "on the beach". although of a different era, this older book, too, poses the question: how long could you live, what would be worth living for, if the world as we know it ended? how would each of us confront the end of the world, without going insane? "on the beach", too, as "long voyage..." does, depicts a group of people, of various/random types, who find themselves somehow ending up together after an atomic blast.
partly/mostly luck, that many of us could survive at all....and for how long? and what would any of us be willing to do to survive? would mere survival be enough? would there need to be more to life to make it worth living, in the vastly reduced conditions that would be the result of such an apocalypse?
hopefully, this is something we won't get to know for real. but it is interesting to see how different writers show different nations, and the people from them, reacting to the destruction of the world as we know it.
very worthwhile book, highly recommended.
One challange, very difficult to avoid, is whigh character lives and which dies. Much like during episodes on the '60's Star Trek when the original Enterprise crew beamed down to the the planet - it was fairly evident that Yomen Bob was not going back with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. It is not too dificult to figure who survives and who doesn't; though the writer did well camouflaging the 'when' even if unable to mask the 'who'. Actually, just as it did with the Enterprise crew, knowing someone's going to be in peril does keep the reader on the edge of their seat as the story progresses. Little surprises in the story as a result though not detracting from reading enjoyment.
The book was so great my lovely bride purchased one for herself after listening to my reflections. And she doesn't like to be on our sailboat!
Go figure . . .
The sailboat idea was interesting too. In the case of Down to a Sunless Sea, that was a vehicle too, but a very high tech one. Had the story been about the cruise ship Norway (which appears in the story) the story might have been similar. But here the "vehicle" is a small one and survival is being played out on a small scale. Where the crew of the airliner in Down to a Sunless Sea is capable and pretty well supplied at first, the sailboat is not. They're not even lucky enough to be sailing when the war happens so they have to actually get supplies and their people and launch during the war hysteria. I would actually have preferred this not be the case. The travails they went through at the start of the story were not implausible, but it was a bit too difficult to believe. Survival on the sailboat would have been story enough.
Not much here for the hardcore survival reader. The effects of radiation are glossed over, as are the effects. The story is more about the collapse of civilization than about the actual destruction. It's also a bit preachy against government. Government is portrayed as almost uniformly evil (which is hardly realistic). This focus on the collapse isn't a bad thing.
Would every place in the world be suddenly short of food? I don't know. Hardly anywhere is self sufficient in a world economy anymore, but agricultural economies that didn't get bombed would not be in such bad shape as this I would think. It kind of feels like "The Road" in that respect.
It's a dark story, but not without a little hope at the end. Down to a Sunless Sea is much more hopeful, and the Road and On the Beach are much less hopeful. I like a little hope in my post-apocalyptic stories and there is a little bit at the end.