The Voyage of the Narwhal

The Voyage of the Narwhal

A Novel

Book - 1998
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A major novel by the author of "Ship Fever", winner of the 1996 National Book Award for fiction. Part adventure, part love story, this unforgettable novel captures a crucial moment in the history of exploration. Combining fact and fiction, the story focuses on Erasmus Darwin Wells, a 19th-century scholar/naturalist and his expedition to search for an open polar sea. NPR feature.
Publisher: New York : Norton, c1998.
ISBN: 9780393046328
Characteristics: 399 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm.


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Feb 11, 2016

This is a powerful historical fiction novel. It tells the story of the Narwhal's search for the fate of Franklin's expedition. Most of the story is told through the eyes of Erasmus, the ship's naturalist. The leader of the expedition, Zeke, is filled with ambition to make a name for himself. He disregards the safety and advice of his crew as he plots to overwinter in the arctic. By the end of the story, I came to fiercely hate this man.

Andrea Barrett does an amazing job of depicting the arctic in all its beauty and power. She also takes the reader into the minds of the crew - their hopes and fears. The terrible suffering the men endured during their winter in Smith South is explored in depth - from scurvy to frostbite to starvation (even having to eat the grubs found in old caribou skins).

I had a difficult time putting this book down. I highly recommend it.

multcolib_dianaa Mar 04, 2014

I couldn't put down this novel about the men on a voyage to the Arctic who got stranded in the ice and some of the women left behind in Philadelphia, waiting for them. The Arctic journey is narrated by the ship's naturalist, and Andrea Barrett excels at writing about the natural world.

Dec 19, 2012

A fascinating story of travel in the arctic around 1855. Loved the characters and found it hard to put down.

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