Liverpool, 1752. William Kemp has lost a fortune in cotton speculation, and must recoup his losses if his son is to marry the wealthy woman whom he loves. His last resort is a slave ship, one that will take him to the Guinea coast, where he will trade for human cargo, then embark on the infamous Middle Passage. When disease ravages the ship and the African prisoners mutiny, William’s profit-seeking venture falls apart. Slaves and sailors alike will join together to found a utopian community on the coast of Florida—not knowing that the vengeful, younger Kemp is in pursuit. Unsworth’s tour de force is a profound meditation on the sacred hunger—the greed—couched within human nature, animating the slave trade. It is a novel that transcends its setting, illuminating larger truths that resonate to this day.
Barry Unsworth was born in 1930 and grew up in a mining town in northeast England. Descended from a long line of coal miners, he was the first Unsworth to escape the mines. He attended Manchester University and published his first novel, The Partnership, in 1966. He is the author of seventeen books, including The Ruby in Her Navel, longlisted for the Booker Prize; Pascali’s Island and Morality Play, both shortlisted for the Booker; and Sacred Hunger, co-winner of the Booker Prize. He died in 2012 at the age of eighty-one.
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The ship he meant was the Liverpool Merchant, Captain Saul Thurso, and he had never seen her, though she carried the seeds Of all his dreams in her hold. (Continues…)
Sacred Hunger 4.5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Debt, slavery, the nature of justice and morality. Screw you Ayn Rand.
More than 1 year ago
I am guilty of starting a book, and if it is slow going after about 100 pages, I put it down and (sometimes) never go back. I almost did that on Sacred Hunger, and am really glad I persevered. The book has great historical details on shipbuilding, life aboard a slave ship, early British society, the history of early Florida and the African slave trade. The characters are flawed, the story is dark, but absolutely wonderful. Great book for a book club. A very powerful book--one of the best I have read.
More than 1 year ago
While I'm 3/4 of the way through this book, I find it most interesting in looking back at the slave trade and the early settling of Florida. The characters are somewhat dark, but they seem to work well with the subject and the reality of those days. Life was harsh and conditions for black slaves were abominable. It breaks your heart as you feel the plight of black slaves and the emotional pain of leaving their entire life and loved ones behind for a life (if they survived) of being less than a dog. If you like history I highly suggest this. While I can't say it's exciting, I have already purchased the next book in the series to see where it goes. It does have a way of taking you in with its characters.
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