This novel is a thoroughly enjoyable and intriguing read. Based on real characters and events, Martin brings together the mysterious disappearance of the crew of the Mary Celeste and the Victorian interest in psychics. Arthur Conan Doyle appears as a bombastic Victorian. Throughout the story is the presence of the sea. Highly recommended.
Based around the mystery of the ship Mary Celeste, the author weaves three intersecting stories across time: the wife of the captain of the ship, a psychic relative and her journalist friend, and Arthur Conan Doyle. The stories touch lightly and are all well written, but there are still many mysteries and loose ends. I enjoyed the writing style but not the nebulousness of the narrative.
My attention was held and released like a ghost ship that drifts in and out of mist in this story. Based on the Mary Celeste, an American brig found abandoned in 1872 and the people whose lives were affected by it in some way, including Arthur Conan Doyle, this tale was sometimes very slow moving and sometimes very enjoyable. It is historical sea tale intertwined with the Spiritualism movement of the time.
The ending left me feeling abandoned. I wondered if my copy was missing some pages. On reflection I see that this work of fiction mirrors the unexplained, crew & passengers disappeared, the ship found intact, floating along on the waves.
Yann Martel and Pat Conroy have written words of praise on the back cover. It merits a read, just don't expect a tidy conclusion, mystery solved. Life isn't always like that.
Of course it is haunting. It’s also beautiful and perplexing. Martin weaves her characters together with a fine thread, always leading back to the Mary Celeste. I look forward to reading this one again.
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