e-book Outerbridge Reach

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In this case Owen alone at sea with only the well-established portent of the shabbily constructed craft and his lonesome thoughts sets up a narrative situation in which—until that negligent craftsmanship begins to actively threaten Browne—we are left with the dilemma of a single player standing alone on the stage. The pattern of the alternating chapters depicting Browne and Anne vs.

Strickland and then, once Browne sets sail, Anne and Strickland vs. Browne obliges Stone to keep returning to the man in the boat, even if the chapters are necessarily briefer now.

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But what can we watch him do? Or say? Or even think?

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So that is one problem. That much though I can accept because the portrayal of Strickland as something of a die-for-his-art predator willing to take advantage of anyone and always looking for the means of doing this, despite his belated empathy for Browne, both the man and his perilous mission, is convincing enough. By this time we have passed through the inflection point of the novel, the point at which Browne enters the storm and discovers that his craft is being ripped apart as a result of the shortcuts the Korean manufacturers took and Strickland and Anne are simultaneously acting upon their pent-up desire for one another.

For the space of several short chapters the book could barely hold my interest. After the lag in the drama, while Browne decides what to do, Stone takes command of his narrative once again. The novel finishes well and the last quarter or eighth of the book has the same power as everything leading up to that inflection point I mentioned.

Where mine is at

He let her gentle and flatter him into making love. Wanting to satisfy him, she applied herself. She could feel him trying to excel, to impress her and bind her to him.


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Her own pleasure made her feel affectionate and uncritical, almost hopeful that they might somehow go on. But in the dark she knew better. Robert Stone seems to be one of those writers who learned to write by actively living and loving in the real hard true world, where every apparent contradiction points to a fundamental axiom of being.


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    By clicking on "Submit" you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Email Newsletter. Log In. Toggle navigation MENU. Email Address. An Annapolis grad and Vietnam vet, now a sailboat salesman in Connecticut, the elegant and thoughtful Owen Browne finds himself enrolled in a grand adventure--sailing solo around the world--after his millionaire boat-maker boss, who was meant to make the sail, disappears under shady circumstances. A cynical documentary filmmaker, Strickland, will make a movie of this voyage--sure that Owen's WASP uprightness and natural election will unravel under the stress.

    Robert Stone Reads From "Outerbridge Reach" and Ken Kesey Reading From "Sailor Song"

    It is to be partly a movie that Owen himself will shoot at sea, and that Strickland will augment with interviews with Owen's lovely but quietly desperate and alcoholic wife, Anne, as well as with the various corporate players in what Strickland sees as just another corporate-American public-relations show.

    Owen goes uneasily off to sea he is a clumsy, only half- competent sailor, but Vietnam has left him with a reckoning with truth and courage still unfulfilled , and Strickland commences his film--and then everything goes a lot differently than expected. A book about self-reconfiguration, the novel becomes a constellation of collapse: the merely aesthetic fails the pure, elliptical Strickland as he falls in love with Anne a character of startling human intricacy , whose infidelity is her own ethical malfunction.


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    Owen's shoddily made boat starts coming apart in the terrible sea, but by then it hardly matters to him: Having been gradually shaken by revelation of the paradoxical "singularity" of the All, he fakes his positions and wanders amidst religious sublimity and mad self-cancellation.

    Stone never has written better. Plot seems the only element occasionally reached for here, sometimes too slow, too quickened- -but Stone's matchless dialogue and Melvillean sea-writing and Melvillean themes: con-games, the death of myth more than compensate.