The North Water is beyond dark. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road looks like a leisurely stroll through a park on Sunday compared to this gruesome novel about a 19th century whaling expedition. The Volunteer is heading out on a six month voyage to northern waters, where hopefully all the whales haven’t been killed yet. Captain Brownlee, the ship’s surgeon Sumner, and harpooner Dax all carry secrets on board--some repugnant, some violent--while the financier may have sinister motives for sending them on this assignment. What happens after they set sail is gripping, graphic, and gruesome, and is not for the squeamish.
Aug 1, 2017