Thursday, May 8, 2014

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson

Although I was a big fan of the texts we read this semester, I felt like we are missing out on a wide variety of potential adventures.  As such, I feel like adding Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson to the syllabus, a book about deep sea diving, would add to our understanding of what makes an adventure narrative.  This is quite a thrilling story about the discovery by a group of divers who stumble upon what seems like a historical impossibility, a German U-boat sunk off the coast of New Jersey.  After the initial discovery, the book covers the following seven years of two of the divers attempts at discovering the identity of the of the boat.  The book's story is gripping not only because it all really happened, but because Kurson does an amazing job of describing each dive these men take.  The dives he describes are not any commercial quality experiences, they are extremely deep dives, around 200 feet deep.  At that depth, the pressure of the ocean causes extreme drumming in your ears and nitrogen bubbles form in your blood at an alarming rate.  At that depth, death is a constant companion, and every choice could be your last.  If that doesn't sound like an adventure, I don't know what is!  Also, as for the two divers the book focuses on, finding the answer to the mystery of the boat's identity becomes an obsession.  Over the years, their undying curiosity and need to push themselves to the limit ultimately costs each of them their marriages and some of the lives of their diving team.  Thus, I believe that this book should be added to the syllabus because not only would it add variety to the type of adventures the class would read, but it also has many of the elements that we have talked about an adventure narrative having.    

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