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Voyage Of The Short Serpent Hardcover – Jan 29 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Press (Jan. 29 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585679208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585679201
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 13.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,247,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
So many levels of enjoyment Feb. 20 2008
By Jonathan Eells - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The obvious level at which one engages this book - the wry account of a petty church potentate's predations (multiple redundancies there, I know) - is quite good enough. But then, keep in mind you're reading a Frenchman's take on GERMANS and other Europeans, and on the Catholic Church, and it all gets WAY MORE FUNNY. I say this without reservation, and I am German m'self. A marvelous, short, skewering read that is well worth the time.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Vicious and Degraded April 19 2008
By Erica - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is about the lost colony of Norseman in Greenland. It is apparently one of the mysteries of history - what happened to these people who existed for 500 years on the coast of Greenland and one day, sometime near 1500 AD, disappeared? Some say it was the cooling climate, some say they were butchered by visiting Europeans or the Inuit population, some say they left, some say they starved. Most say their somewhat rigid adherence to their culture, that of farming and strict religion, caused their demise.

This novel is about the journey of a Catholic bishop to the Norse colony. He is ordered there when rumors abound that the colony is succumbing to paganism and sodomy and incest - murder, fornication, hanging to get high, and every other sordid act of debauchery. The novel pairs vivid descriptions of starvation and privation and harrowing journeys over an ice-gripped landscape with equally vivid descriptions of the horrors of human culture gone awry - fornication, mutilation, murder, and excrement (hastily devoured by the desperate) - mostly told by the bishop himself, whose point of view is, at times, verging on the delusional.

I have heard that this book was made much of in France, for the particular reason that the author was 76 when he wrote this - his first novel - having worked most of his life in a decidedly un-literary administrative job. I am fully prepared to give it props on that account, since I seem to have spent my own youth uselessly and will no doubt continue to do so. I fully expect that I will not have accomplished anything of any note by 70, so this guy gives me a little bit of hope.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Short but sweet? Feb. 6 2011
By Kurt Switzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like many stories of medieval Greenland, this was a pretty depressing read. It is told mostly from the viewpoint of the priest, with a few chapters from the captains side. In general the delivery was to the point and anticlimactic, so if not paying close attention it was easy to miss important story points. The hardship in reaching Greenland, and parts of the captains tale while hunting reminded my of the desolation in Dan Simmon's "The Terror". I enjoyed the translation, the dialog and descriptions having a decided old world feel. Too many historical fictions feel contemporary and detract from the story.
Must have lost something in the translation Feb. 5 2014
By Linda S. Beckman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Okay, maybe I'm just a dunce, but it took me a very long time to see any comedy at all in this book. I guess I just didn't "get it."
Intelligent, Funny, and Disturbing June 6 2013
By C. H. Fleck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a dark, dark comedy. Or maybe it's a really funny tragedy. At any rate, it is clear that the author is familiar with medieval Scandinavian literature, because the "Voyage" is reminiscent of the extant literature of the period: blood soaked, sardonic, morally ambiguous. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this book is.

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