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Not Wanted on the Voyage [Paperback]

Timothy Findley , Paul Quarrington
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 12 2006

Not Wanted on the Voyage is the story of the great flood and the first time the world ended. It is a brilliant, unforgettable drama filled with an extraordinary cast of remarkable characters: the tyrannical Noah and his indomitable wife, Mrs. Noyes; the aging and irritable Yahweh; a chorus of singing sheep; and a unicorn destined for a horrible death. With pathos and pageantry, desperation and hope, magic and mythology, this acclaimed novel weaves its unforgettable spell.


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Published in 1984, Not Wanted on the Voyage is one of Timothy Findley's most imaginative and compelling literary fictions. Findley turns to one of our essential myths: the biblical story of the great Flood, but he doesn't so much retell it as take our common knowledge of the Old Testament tale and give it an extraordinary twist. Here we have Dr. Noah Noyes, diabolical conjuror and dictatorial leader of his helpless little boat-bound band, sure of his total superiority as man, husband, and father, imposing his view of the ways of God on his wife and family. The kind and generous Mrs. Noyes stands in direct contrast to her hard-hearted husband, and then there are the Noyes children: strongman Japeth, every inch his father's son, with his delicate wife, Emma; and the sensitive Ham, every inch his mother's, with his mysterious wife, Lucy (a.k.a. Lucifer, who, having escaped from Hell, has decided to align himself with mankind). Findley, a great lover of cats, also gives us the crotchety Mottyl, making his way through his ninth and final life. Not Wanted on the Voyage is poetic and passionate and bursting with a wide-eyed inventiveness, at once a stunningly contemporary attempt at mythmaking, a grand novel of the power of the imagination, and a thoroughly good read. --Jeffrey Canton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A dazzling display of literary thaumaturgy, magic in its purest sense..." - Paul Quarrington

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing, heart-wrenching / hopeful tale Aug. 15 2002
Format:Paperback
This is fiction at its best (and not just Canadian fiction)!! It's usually hard to try to get me to read a book in which animals talk, and characters are mythical / Biblical; however, this was such a captivating read. The best books make its readers feel: and this one certainly does. Images from its pages became branded onto my mind for a long long time. Findley's strength comes in truly sympathizing with all living things. E.g. I started to get choked up as the fairies hovered around the ark, getting weaker and weaker as they see their chance for salvation diminish. This book IS mythical, but it's also very real: Findley's sense of social justice, his views against autocracy and mindless, blind followers of authority are clearly shown. This book mourns the cruelty that is humanity, but it also celebrates heroism, bravery, and loyalty.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sad and beautiful deluge April 9 1997
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Beautifully written with colourful images and heart tugging scenes, Timothy Findley spins a twisted fairy tale about the first time the world ended in, Not Wanted on the Voyage. The story is complete with unicorns who are destined for a grotesque death, faeries who are forgotten in the rain, and intelligent talking animals who show more emotion and spirit than some of the main characters.

In his catastrophic version of Noah's Ark, Findley twists the expected roles of God and Noah showing just how arbitrary powerful figures can be in their justice. And as the rain pours down in colourful splashes admist a mythical setting one cannot help but fall gently in love with figures such as Lucifer, Mottyl the blind cat, and sweet Mrs Noyes, Noah's wife.

Altogether, Timothy Findley's Not Wanted on the Voyage is a wonderfully written saga that opens one's mind to the complexities of religion, patriarchal society, and the importance of myth. It combines both the world of fairy tales with the violent realities of survival in the primary world. It can be read purely for entertainment or it can be read for a little bit of enlightenment. Either way it is a brilliant and unforgettable novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing March 21 2006
By Renee
Format:Paperback
When i was assigned this novel as a literature circle book for school, i wasn't thrilled when i found out it was about Noah's Ark. But after having read it, all my old concerns just flew out the window. This is an amazing piece of literature, and i recommend it to anyone who wants to read someone else's take on biblical events. It is quite the eye opener!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ode to Mr. Findley Aug. 27 2014
Format:Paperback
This book is written by one of Canada’s most beloved writers, Mr. Timothy Findley. In his version of the great flood you’re transported into biblical times, a world where Noah or Mr. Noyes is a misogynistic pig, whom I became to truly loathe, his wife that likes her drink and their offspring, one which is blue, and let us not forget the talking animals .

This story casts a different light on one of the most beloved tales from the bible, not the one young Christians are exposed to and fall in love with, where Noah saves all the animals. In this rendition it is only the animals that Yahweh has chosen, and only two one male and one female, well did we forget that the rest of the animals were to parish in the flood and have a horible death?

The words from these pages became branded onto my psyche for a long, long time. Findley's strength comes in truly sympathizing with all living things. I started to get choked up as the fairies hovered around the ark, getting weaker and weaker as they see their chance for salvation diminish. This book is mythical, but it's also very real: Findley's sense of social justice, his views against dictatorship and mindlessness, blind followers of authority are clearly shown. This book mourns the cruelty that is humanity, but it also celebrates heroism, bravery, and loyalty.

Findley also showes another side of Lucifer or shall we say Lucy, she, yes I said she, is a beloved character where as Yahweh is a decrypted old man who is cruel beyond measure. One of my favourite quotes is said by Lucy,

“where I was born, the trees were always in the sun. And I left that place because it was intolerant of rain. And I intend to leave this place- because it is intolerant of light.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest fiction books ever written !! April 30 1997
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Every reader of books, at some stage in their life, feels the urge to write one themselves.
I would suggest that you do not read this book before undertaking writing your own book, as the sheer wonder and depth of subject matter combined with the age-old skill of spellbinding story-telling may well put you off!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read! Aug. 28 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book a summer ago when I was sixteen and I couldn't put it down. It is beautiful and heartbreaking and certainly thought-provoking. Wonderful characterizations it and raises important questions on the abuse of power. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in reading something a little different.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Bruce H
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Findley set himself an ambitious task in writing this novel. He takes the Biblical story of Noah and the Ark and reinterprets it. This represents a new trend in late 20th century literature; the rewriting of traditional stories, often in the attempt to undermine the intended purpose of the story. Aside from this work, this idea can be seen in Gardner's "Grendel" (based upon the thousand year old English epic poem "Beowulf") and the "Politically Correct" series: Bedtime stories, Parables, and the Politically Correct Guide to the Bible. It is interesting to see how post-modernism is changing (if not corrupting) literature. Post-modernism asserts that there is no meta-narrative, no authoritative version of events, no absolute truth and so forth. Of course, it is almost immediately obvious that such a philosophy is riddled with contradiction (see "Relativism: Feet planted firmly in mid-air," by Frank Beckwith and Gregory Koukl for more; I've also reviewed this book) and as such should not be taken as serious philosophy.
"Not wanted on the voyage" strikes me as a much better novel than Findley's "The Wars" (which I have reviewed), a tale about a Canadian soldier in World War 1. I would not say there is a substantive difference in terms of writing style, but I simply found the happenings of World War 1 uninteresting to read in a fictional setting. My main criticism of this novel is the pace; the first part is almost painfully slow. The reader has to wait about 60 pages to meet Yahweh (God, who is described an ancient man, strained with exhaustion) and then, another 140 pages for the Ark to be finished and the Flood to begin. I consider the Ark and the Flood to be the main events of the story, however it may be told, and those events should be the most prominent.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
I love this book. Have read it twice now. Its a very interesting take on the tale. Sad, but worth the read
Published 5 months ago by lkk1212
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Timothy Findley Masterpiece!
I read this book a long time ago and I heartily recommend it. I sent a copy to a relative for summertime reading. Fanciful and thought-provoking well-written fiction. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Bookologist
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Wonderful
This reinterpretation is full of majesty as it takes the Biblical account of the flood and turns it on its head. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Spartnan
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Fantasy
Even though it's a small book, it was hard to get into, and I had a hard time knowing who was who. But halfway through, this magical book comes together. Read more
Published on July 29 2010 by Andre Darche
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird and dark but beautiful
This is no doubt a very strange book. It is dark with some pretty disturbing scenes but somehow manages to demonstrate an achingly beautiful landscape. Read more
Published on July 25 2008 by Lyra Tallis
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time
This was one of the most painful reads I have endured for quite some time. I found this book ridiculous, and down right silly. Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2006 by Nikki- book lover
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling
I choose this book for an English 30 novel study, thinking it to be another religious book on how great God was. Wow, was I wrong. Read more
Published on Dec 16 2001
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