A Clear Calling

A Clear Calling

by David Austin
     
 

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From when he was twelve years old Robert Radnor had been in love with the idea of being a sailor. And a sailor he became, at home on the sea as other men were on land. Until the year of 1948, on board the steamship Golden Delta, serving as first officer under Captain Peeke, when Radnor's uncanny intuition about the sea and its ways suddenly deserts him and he

Overview

From when he was twelve years old Robert Radnor had been in love with the idea of being a sailor. And a sailor he became, at home on the sea as other men were on land. Until the year of 1948, on board the steamship Golden Delta, serving as first officer under Captain Peeke, when Radnor's uncanny intuition about the sea and its ways suddenly deserts him and he finds himself alone with the sea, with his fear and with his terrifying foreknowledge.

Editorial Reviews

EBOOK COMMENTARY
A seafaring tale, reminiscent of Patrick O'Brian, about a born sailor who tragically loses his connection to the sea. Robert Radnor is in his 90s, a hermit who, because of a change in ownership, is about to be displaced from the seaside hut where he has lived for decades. This upheaval causes him to reflect upon his many years at sea, which he has documented by carving wooden heads of the men he served with on his last voyage, in 1949, aboard The Golden Delta. In frustration at the turn of events, he tosses some of the heads into the sea, where, unbeknownst to Radnor, they're picked up and traded, gradually valued highly and becoming known as Orwell Heads. The long middle section details Radnor's ill-fated last voyage, from its ominous beginnings when Radnor perceives a phantom dhow passing nearby and has the intuition that the sea he has always understood in an uncanny way is on the verge of turning on him, perhaps, as a woman would, understanding that he's considering leaving her. Step by step, in rhythmic, slow-moving prose, British newcomer Austin describes a man losing his grip on reality, his judgment no longer trusted by captain or crew. In the end, he's put under lock and key, visited in port by a naval doctor. Austin's descriptions of the fickle lure and dangerous power of the ocean are poetic and knowing, and Radnor is less a character than a symbol of man in conflict with sea. Finally, when the postmistress enters his hut to deliver two letters that will decide his fate, she's astonished to see the carvings of all the men aboard the Golden Delta. For Radnor, they're as alive as his memories. Too slow going for commercial success, but Austin's maiden voyage may gain somemomentum from its dramatic survivor's description of a tidal wave destroying a ship, bringing to mind the recent tsunami disaster.
Kirkus Reviews
A seafaring tale, reminiscent of Patrick O'Brian, about a born sailor who tragically loses his connection to the sea. Robert Radnor is in his 90s, a hermit who, because of a change in ownership, is about to be displaced from the seaside hut where he has lived for decades. This upheaval causes him to reflect upon his many years at sea, which he has documented by carving wooden heads of the men he served with on his last voyage, in 1949, aboard The Golden Delta. In frustration at the turn of events, he tosses some of the heads into the sea, where, unbeknownst to Radnor, they're picked up and traded, gradually valued highly and becoming known as Orwell Heads. The long middle section details Radnor's ill-fated last voyage, from its ominous beginnings when Radnor perceives a phantom dhow passing nearby and has the intuition that the sea he has always understood in an uncanny way is on the verge of turning on him, perhaps, as a woman would, understanding that he's considering leaving her. Step by step, in rhythmic, slow-moving prose, British newcomer Austin describes a man losing his grip on reality, his judgment no longer trusted by captain or crew. In the end, he's put under lock and key, visited in port by a naval doctor. Austin's descriptions of the fickle lure and dangerous power of the ocean are poetic and knowing, and Radnor is less a character than a symbol of man in conflict with sea. Finally, when the postmistress enters his hut to deliver two letters that will decide his fate, she's astonished to see the carvings of all the men aboard the Golden Delta. For Radnor, they're as alive as his memories. Too slow going for commercial success, but Austin's maiden voyage may gain somemomentum from its dramatic survivor's description of a tidal wave destroying a ship, bringing to mind the recent tsunami disaster.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781446448748
Publisher:
RANDOM HOUSE
Publication date:
07/31/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
File size:
231 KB

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Meet the Author

David Austin has been a sailor, an actor and a farmer. He lives in Norfolk.

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