Monday, March 31, 2014
Reading The Voyage of the Narwhal was an unexpected turn for me from the narratives and novel that we have read previously. To be fair, there was still an abundance of similarities connecting all of the stories in terms of the ever-present conflict between rational sense and ambition, and that of selfishness versus selflessness. There was also a period of preparation preceding the adventure, a plan of attack, and the unforeseen effects of nature. Underlying these similarities, however, is the major difference that this is a contrived failure. The story reads with a sense of inevitable doom similar to Into Thin Air, but it was even more obvious to me during the reading experience since The Voyage of the Narwhal was published as fiction. The only protagonist offered is Erasmus, the personification of failure, and the adventure itself might as well be a post-traumatic stress episode of his previous seafaring disaster. It therefore reads very differently from The Eiger Sanction, with its twists and sense of thrill; reading The Voyage of the Narwhal, I turn every page with an almost amused “What’s our sad clown gotten himself into now?” mentality.