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fiction

The Ghost of the Mary Celeste

 
 
Author
Valerie Martin.
Publisher Nan A. Talese  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.6 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780385533508
Pages/Publication Date 308/2014
Daedalus Item Code 61637
This item is not available.
Description
In this tenth novel from the Orange Prize–winning author of Property and Mary Reilly, a ghost ship is found off the coast of Spain in 1872. To struggling British writer Arthur Conan Doyle, it will be an inspiration, while to American psychic Violet Petra, it is a waking nightmare. And to a public obsessed with spiritualism, the mystery of the Mary Celeste and her vanished crew—including Captain Benjamin Briggs's young wife and daughter—provides a fascinating opportunity to speculate on life, death, and humanity. In the voices of various narrators, the threads of Valerie Martin's vivid and atmospheric novel weave themselves into a haunting exploration of the bonds of love and the fictions that pass as truth.

"A sly and masterly historical novel, a page-turner written with intelligence and flair. One way of constructing a novel that makes the whole seem larger than its parts is to variegate the parts—to employ multiple voices, styles and points of view, even interpolated genres, from poetry and court records to newspaper clippings, letters and diaries. Martin does all this and more, and the effect is striking."—NYTBR

"Eschewing a traditional linear narrative for an unconventional yet far more effective structure, Martin creates what seem at first to be loosely connected vignettes. Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote a sensationalist tale about the ship's fate in his youth, appears at several different points in his life, and a journalist crosses paths several times with an enigmatic medium she hopes to debunk. It progressively becomes clear that their stories link in multiple ways with the Briggs family of Marion, Massachusetts, many of whom died at sea. Characterization is first-rate, as is the historical sensibility. Subtle undercurrents of impending tragedy create a disquieting effect throughout, a fitting atmosphere for a work about a society preoccupied with making contact with deceased loved ones. The scenes of maritime disasters are realistically terrifying. A haunting ... speculative look at a long-unsolved maritime mystery and the unsettling relationships between writers and their subjects."—Booklist

 
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