Guide We, The Drowned

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We, The Drowned. Description In a motley crew of Danish sailors sets sail from the small island town of Marstal to fight the Germans.

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Not all of them return - and those who do will never be the same. Among them is the daredevil Laurids Madsen, who promptly escapes again into the anonymity of the high seas. Spanning four generations, two world wars and a hundred years, We, The Drowned is an epic tale of adventure, ruthlessness and passion.

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Flap copy Hailed in Europe as an instant classic, "We, the Drowned" is the story of the port town of Marstal, whose inhabitants sailed the world's oceans aboard freight ships for centuries. Spanning over a hundred years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the Second World War--from the barren rocks of Newfoundland to the lush plantations of Samoa, from the roughest bars in Tasmania to the frozen coasts of northern Russia--"We, the Drowned" is a magnificent tale of love, war, and adventure, of the men who go to sea and the women they leave behind.

Ships are wrecked and blown up in wars, they are places of terror and violence, yet they continue to lure each generation of Marstallers. Among them are Laurids Madsen, who vanishes in the South Pacific; his son Albert, who searches the globe for his father; Knud Erik and his widowed mother, Klara, who takes on here, shrunken heads, prophetic dreams, forbidden passions, cowards, heroes, devastating tragedies, and miraculous survivals--everything that a town like Marstal has actually lived.

A gorgeous, unsparing novel. The novel tells of ships wrecked and blown up in wars, of places of terror and violence that continue to lure each generation; there are cannibals here, shrunken heads, prophetic dreams, and miraculous survivals. The result is a brilliant seafaring novel, a gripping saga encompassing industrial growth, the years of expansion and exploration, the crucible of the first half of the twentieth century, and most of all, the sea. Called "one of the most exciting authors in Nordic literature" by Henning Mankell, Carsten Jensen has worked as a literary critic and a journalist, reporting from China, Cambodia, Latin America, the Pacific Islands, and Afghanistan.

In a society that prefers to snack on information rather than dine on knowledge, the long novel is all too often shoved aside for its more digestible counterparts. But the good news is that the heavy literary lift has not been entirely forgotten. First published in Danish in , and recently translated into English, We, the Drowned is precisely what the long contemporary novel ought to be.


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  5. The story of the small shipping town of Marstal, set between the Danish-Prussian wars and World War II, We, the Drowned is a eulogy for a bygone way of life and a timeless account of human suffering and pleasure. These three men and their stories form the backbone of this vast book.

    Paperback Editions

    Knud is hoisted upon Albert as a sort of ward, ultimately ingratiating the old man and softening his otherwise curmudgeonly manner. Like any great ensemble cast, the three men are highly entertaining on their own and utterly enthralling together. The mischief of young boys and the trials of poverty are rendered sweet and moving in such capable hands. Appealingly, none of the three male protagonists are victims of the traditional soldier stereotypes—living only through their military exploits.

    We the Drowned

    Their adventures on the South Seas and their efforts in the face of Nazism do not supersede the richness and depth of their characters. Neither Albert nor Knud relish the violence in which they take part, and all three morally and emotionally suffer in the aftermath of their duties.


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    After all, what exactly does a cannonball do to a human being? Bullets, we know from Discovery Health and Law and Order, have clean entry wounds and messy exits—they can tear straight through a person, or explode within. Knife wounds, blunt force trauma, poison—television and the movies can, and often do, directly display the myriad ways in which humans can maim, maul, and rip apart one another. But a cannonball?