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Not Wanted on the Voyage [Paperback]

Timothy Findley , Paul Quarrington
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 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.


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

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 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
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
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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars great book April 12 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this book. Have read it twice now. Its a very interesting take on the tale. Sad, but worth the read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Timothy Findley Masterpiece! Aug. 1 2013
By Bookologist TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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. Enjoy a great read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Wonderful March 25 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This reinterpretation is full of majesty as it takes the Biblical account of the flood and turns it on its head. With new characters and a couple darkly humorous spins, it is quite enjoyable and a true page-turner. Yes, it's not true to Judaic or Christian doctrine, but nothing that is good never is.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird and dark but beautiful July 25 2008
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.
The writing itself is very good. Findley is a master of his craft though sadly not very well known. His book the Wars is often on high school reading lists but that's about it.
Be warned though: this book is not a light-hearted read by any stretch. Its black humour might not be to everyone's taste as well. It is graphic, violent and blunt in it's discription of even the most brutal scenes. But it takes a truly unique look at the Noah's Ark story and leaves you thinking.
There is a pretty good forward too in this edition used in the CanadaReads 2007 contest.
Wonderful Canadian Literature. Just don't read it while you're eating.
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