The Lost Sailors

The Lost Sailors

by Jean-Claude Izzo
     
 

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"Izzo digs deep into what makes men weep."-Time Out New York

In this moving investigation into the human comedy, the men aboard an impounded freighter in the port of Marseilles are divided: Wait for the money owed them, or accept their fate and abandon ship? Captain Abdul Aziz is determined to save his charge and do the right thing by his men.

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Overview

"Izzo digs deep into what makes men weep."-Time Out New York

In this moving investigation into the human comedy, the men aboard an impounded freighter in the port of Marseilles are divided: Wait for the money owed them, or accept their fate and abandon ship? Captain Abdul Aziz is determined to save his charge and do the right thing by his men. In these close quarters charged with physical and emotional tension, each life begins to resemble a chapter in the complex, colorful, and tragic story of the Mediterranean Sea itself-rich with romance, legend, passion, and drama.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This moody turn from the late Izzo (1945-2000), author of the hit Marseilles detective trilogy that includes Total Chaos, centers on the Aldebaran, a ship waylaid by debts in the port of Marseilles. After most of the freighter's crew is sent home, only the Lebanese captain, Abdul Aziz; the Greek first mate, Diamantis; and the pleasure-loving Turkish sailor Nedim remain. All three are dogged by a loss of purpose, memories of the women they have loved and abandoned, and the great myths of the Mediterranean, including the Odyssey. Diamantis emerges as the reluctant hero, determined to make amends with a woman he left in Marseilles 20 years before, while a middle-aged Abdul comes to terms with his morally ambiguous career at sea. Marseilles's seedy underbelly soon catches up to the lost sailors and entwines their lives in new ways. Izzo writes candidly about European racial politics, and his characters brood intriguingly, but their noirish flatness proves a real limit. (Sept.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Sailors can be more lost on land than they ever were at sea, suggests this moody drama from French novelist Izzo (Solea, 2007, etc.). When an aging freighter is impounded in Marseilles, its captain and crew are forced to choose. Most of the sailors accept a modest settlement and either head toward further adventures or return to homes long left behind. Three remain aboard the Aldebaran. Captain Abdul Aziz still feels guilty about failing in his obligation to a previous ship. For first mate Diamantis, "the sea was his life . . . the only place he felt free." Radio operator Nedim intended to leave, but he blew his money on a night of carousing. As this leisurely but entrancing human drama unravels, other motives for their inertia are revealed. Captain Aziz weighs his marriage, as his long-suffering wife waits for him to decide between her and the sea. Diamantis wonders about the first love he abandoned in this very port, and Nedim is haunted by memories of an affair cut short by his brutal actions. For these men, the sea is a comfortable purgatory: "Waiting didn't exist. Only leaving had any meaning. Leaving and coming back." To be on land means facing up to past actions and unresolved conflicts avoided for years. The author masterfully depicts his native Marseilles' sensuous diversity, from down-at-the-heels cafes to the increasingly ritzy and snobbish seaside. His characters are equally detailed, their sad stories revealed inch by inch through whiskey-fueled conversations and casual shore-side liaisons. Slow-building drama with a tragic denouement as inevitable and deadly as any storm at sea.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781933372358
Publisher:
Europa
Publication date:
09/01/2007
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,420,606
Product dimensions:
5.34(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.86(d)

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Meet the Author

Jean-Claude Izzo achieved immediate success with his Marseilles Trilogy (Total Chaos, Chourmo, Solea). In addition to this trilogy, his two novels The Lost Sailors, The Sun of the Dying, and one collection of short stories, Living Tires, enjoyed great critical and popular acclaim. Izzo died in 2000 at the age of fifty-five.

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