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The Voyage Hardcover – October 19, 1999
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The title voyage of Philip Caputo's sweeping new novel commences under exceedingly strange circumstances: in June 1900, Cyrus Braithwaite, a gruff Yankee granite magnate, orders his three teenage sons to board the family's beloved schooner, sail away from their imposing Maine summer home, and stay away until September. His sole explanation for this sudden expulsion: "It's a new century, boys." Puzzled, abashed, but also intrigued by the adventure forced upon them, Nathaniel, Eliot, and Andrew leave behind their privileged WASP childhood and head out to sea--bound, they decide more or less on a whim, for the Florida keys.
Adventures are slow to shape themselves at first, but once the Braithwaite boys enlist the help of blond, worldly wise Yale dropout Will Terhune, the pace quickens considerably. Nat, who serves as skipper, and is also the most naive and most ambitious of the brothers, nearly dies in a bar fight in lower Manhattan. Fourteen-year-old Drew, the seasick-prone family rationalist, discovers a penchant for cold-blooded violence. Caught in a blow off the Carolinas, the boys limp the damaged schooner into Beaufort, South Carolina, their mother's birthplace, where an ancient aunt invites them to dinner and hints darkly at family secrets. Then, about two-thirds of the way in, what has seemed a leisurely coming-of-age story explodes into an elemental drama as a hurricane swallows the boat and spits it out on the desolate coast of Cuba. This, as it turns out, is but the first in a series of terrible reversals.
The Voyage is a departure for Caputo, a former foreign correspondent who made his name with a Vietnam memoir (A Rumor of War), and he does a fine job of conjuring up an age "when both the awareness of death and the hope of salvation were writ on every face." True, his framing device of a present-day Braithwaite descendant delving into her family's secret history is a bit forced and yes, the characters could use more depth. No matter. At some point, The Voyage becomes irresistible. --David Laskin
From Library Journal
Caputo, author of the Vietnam classic Rumors of War, has crafted a compelling novel that offers both rousing adventure and penetrating insight into the mystery that is family. At the turn of the 19th century, a flinty New Englander suddenly orders his three sons, the oldest of whom is 16, to sail away from the Maine coast and stay away until September. "Where are we supposed to go?" they ask. "Don't much care," he answers. So off they sail to face the series of adventures that make up most of the book, all the while trying to understand their seeming abandonment. Their story is reconstructed by one son's granddaughter, herself haunted by the mystery. Determined to unravel the secret behind her great-grandfather's behavior, she is able to put together major pieces of the puzzle using both hard facts and a lot of imagination, which "is not an unreliable sextant, if you're trying to get a fix on the truth." That, of course, is exactly what all good novels do. This book should appeal to a wide audience, including older teenagers. Highly recommended for all public and most academic libraries.
-ADavid W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, FL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Why did he do that? To make them men? Why so cruel?
They had little experience in making decisions, some experience in local sailing, and very little money. They were very scared to go but they went . They had a cousin who lived down the coast of Maine and their aunt invited them to stay there but they left with their cousin. Why?
Wow, on another level this is a fantastic story of the family history the boy's father and mother and aunts an uncles and their half brother all located on the East Coast and all the family mystery, intrigue and adversity that is added to the boys adventure but never explained until the end of the book
There's more. The author was raised in Connecticut and knows of Maine and Boston , New York, the South, Florida Keys and Cuba.
His descriptions of places, people and their culture, sailing vernacular, is uncanny. I just loved it As a sail boater his descriptions were right on and well done. The prose of every area was outstanding. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a good read. I am happy to have read this book
I feel like the book was written just for me. The author is that good. and the book will become a classic in opinion.
As one who spent several summers navigating a small sailboat up and down Puget Sound I have a lot of respect for anyone attempting to sail in open ocean. It requires skills and courage. These boys have both, and a smattering of luck. However, their voyage is not without consequences to them and to their companions.
Set at the turn of the twentieth century just after the Spanish American War the voyage is epic. The characters multidimensional. the action edge of your seat thrilling, and in the end a twist of plot that is absolutely stunning. Beautifully written, magnificently conceived, well researched, and, ultimately, shattering, this is a must read. Caputo is brilliant, and this is a true proof of that.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a terrific book. I can’t believe it didn’t receive any literary prizes.Read more
I'm not, but enjoyed the adventure.
Takes you back and brings you to the present.