May 27, 2014

The Sea-Wolf

by Jack London

A seafaring adventure that at first glance would be something like Captain's Courageous (which I actually liked) but similarities are only on the surface, as I surprisingly found this book very forgettable. Not sure why, as I've like other books of adventures at sea before, and also London's books about intrepid canines in the North (Call of the Wild and White Fang) are among my favorites, very memorable. Maybe this one waxed too philosophical. Or got me lost in nautical terminology and descriptions I couldn't quite follow.

Anyway, it's about a well-to-do young man named Humphrey (unfortunately his nickname is Hump) who survives when the ferry he's on capsizes, and gets picked up by a sealing vessel. The captain, Wolf Larsen, is a cruel taskmaster and forces Humphrey to work as part of the crew. So a lot of the story is about how life at sea hardens this young man, and friction among the crew. The main points I remember are an attempted mutiny, and that somehow a young woman ended up on board. Of course Humphrey falls in love with her, then has to protect her from the attentions of all the other men on board. I think at the end Humphrey and the woman end up shipwrecked on an island, surviving off seals, but that somehow the captain ended up there with them as well and there is some final confrontation. But I forgot most of it, and don't really feel inclined to read it again.

Rating: 2/5     244 pages, 1904

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  1. Hahaha, this review made me laugh. I'm not a Jack London fan (alas!), so I stopped after reading Call of the Wild. Hump is a truly unfortunate nickname.

  2. Glad to tickle your funny bone!


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