While Humphrey snoozes, I am doing anything but that as I feverishly turn the pages of The North Water, one of my favorites from the Man Booker long list.
It isn’t the theme so much, although the story of the whaling ship and all its trials is mesmerizing. It’s the characterization, the creation of Henry Drax who is evil incarnate, and Patrick Sumner who is a surgeon with a darkness all his own, that hold my firmest attention.
Hilary Mantel said the novel is, “A tour de force of narrative tension,” and while what she has to say about narrative tension seems counter to what she has produced, with this sentence I would concur.
My summary in two words? Terrifying and compelling.