Outerbridge Reach

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Overview

In this towering story about a man pitting himself against the sea, against society, and against himself, Robert Stone again demonstrates that he is "one of the most impressive novelists of his generation" (New York Review of Books). Inviting comparison with the great sea novels of Conrad, Melville, and Hemingway, Outerbridge Reach is also the portrait of two men and the powerful, unforgettable woman they both love - and for whom they are both ready, in their very different ways, to stake everything. As the San ...

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Outerbridge Reach

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Overview

In this towering story about a man pitting himself against the sea, against society, and against himself, Robert Stone again demonstrates that he is "one of the most impressive novelists of his generation" (New York Review of Books). Inviting comparison with the great sea novels of Conrad, Melville, and Hemingway, Outerbridge Reach is also the portrait of two men and the powerful, unforgettable woman they both love - and for whom they are both ready, in their very different ways, to stake everything. As the San Francisco Chronicle said, "Robert Stone asks questions of our time few writers could imagine and answers them in narratives few readers will ever quite forget."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"His voice is probably the most distinctive of his generation . . . an extraordinary achievement." —Boston Globe

"A Triumph" —The New York Times

"One of the truly great journeys of contemporary American fiction." —The Chicago Sun-Times

Library Journal
In this stern but not unhopeful cautionary tale, Stone depicts Owen Browne and his circle, the powerful American upper-middle class. By coupling this portrait with innovative treatment of the journey motif, Stone bids fair to capture the public imagination. Browne seemingly embodies privilege and success. Yet, avid for honor and glory, he enters a highly publicized, round-the-world, singlehanded sailboat race. As the loneliness and exertion of his voyage test Browne, so the attention of a shallow filmmaker test Anne, Browne's wife. Both learn truths about themselves and one another which destroy one spouse but which compel the other to further trials of strength and will. Superb foreshadowing and some glorious phrasing make even occasionally puzzling devices (e.g., major decisions are almost always reported rather than depicted) seem acceptable facets of Stone's felicitous style. -- Jane S. Bakerman, Indiana State University, Terre Haute
Library Journal
In this stern but not unhopeful cautionary tale, Stone depicts Owen Browne and his circle, the powerful American upper-middle class. By coupling this portrait with innovative treatment of the journey motif, Stone bids fair to capture the public imagination. Browne seemingly embodies privilege and success. Yet, avid for honor and glory, he enters a highly publicized, round-the-world, singlehanded sailboat race. As the loneliness and exertion of his voyage test Browne, so the attention of a shallow filmmaker test Anne, Browne's wife. Both learn truths about themselves and one another which destroy one spouse but which compel the other to further trials of strength and will. Superb foreshadowing and some glorious phrasing make even occasionally puzzling devices (e.g., major decisions are almost always reported rather than depicted) seem acceptable facets of Stone's felicitous style. -- Jane S. Bakerman, Indiana State University, Terre Haute
New York Times Books of the Century
...[T]old in a gritty idiom, this shapely novel has great power. (1992)
Chicago Sun-Times
One of the truly great journeys of contemporary American fiction.
Kirkus Reviews
Stone's best book sinceDog Soldiers, and arguably even better. 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. 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. 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 theonly 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. Ashen yet rich, prophetically unswerving but clement: a novel of true American literary significance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395938942
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 833,290
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Stone

ROBERT STONE (1937-2015) was the acclaimed author of eight novels and two story collections, including Dog Soldiers, winner of the National Book Award, and Bear and His Daughter, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His memoir, Prime Green, was published in 2007.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2000

    Under the surface

    Somebody is going to look into his average life and ask for more oxygen into it. As you read this novel, you would find out whether that would cause a fire; and what would the spectators think about it. I found it hard to let go until I reached the end!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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