Typhoon (Echo Library) Paperback – Dec 17 2007
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From the Publisher
"If you liked The Perfect Storm, you will be blown away by Typhoon, Conrad's classic tale." -David Hagberg, author of White House
"Conrad is quite simply the master of all who try to reflect the world of the sea in the mirror of the written word...No one has limned more vividly the courage, the skill, the dreams, and terrors of those who set out upon the waters. He is the Captain." --David Poyer, author of The Med --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Captain MacWhirr is famous for being an efficient, calm, dull and silent man, someone you would trust but not like. He seems to be rather unbrilliant, though, never understanding why people talk so much. The other characters are also interesting, especially Jukes, the "young Turk", vivid and dynamic; Solomon the head engineer, another wise man from the sea, and the disgusting and repugnant "second officer", the type of coward you don't want to be with in this kind of drama.
Human character, then, is revealed by limit-situations much more than at any other time, as war literature fans know, and this tale will leave you wondering how YOU would react if you had to make decisions in the midst of a horrible, and wonderfully depicted, typhoon.
Captain Mac Whirr, a short, fat, dull but dependable seaman, commands the Nan-Shan for a Siamese merchant firm. He writes twelve letter a year to his uncaring wife and has two children who barely know him. During typhoon season in the China Sea Jukes the first mate tells the Captain to change course to avoid the looming storm, but Mac Whirr will think of nothing but forging straight ahead. The Captain and Jukes as well as Solomon Rout the chief engineer (Long Sol, Old Sol or father Rout to his shipmates and Solomon Sez to his wife who quotes pearls of wisdom from his letters to anyone who'll listen) and the Bosun are at the center of the crisis that follows.
During a storm like no other the actions of everyman are almost predetermined by their biases, intrenched beliefs and in some cases ability to react. In six short chapters Conrad develops a great story of how different men behave in a fight for survival.
The tale of the last leg is told in pieces from letters home. The Captain's letter is barely read by his wife who has no idea what happened. Solomon's is sentimental and cherished by his beloved. Jukes reveals the most. Unsurprisingly we find that Captain Mac Whirr wasn't so dumb after all.
It would probably be better read than listened to and deserves at least four stars for the classic it is.
The Nan-Shan, a steamer of Siamese registry but with English officers, and with a cargo of Chinese coolie laborers returning from a stint overseas, encounters a deadly typhoon and somehow survives it. We see the story unfold through the eyes of Jukes, the first mate, who is awed by his stoic Captain MacWhirr's quiet resolve in the face of a storm of the century.
Reading it, I felt transported to the Northridge Earthquake of 1994. A sound as of all the demons of hell -- shaking and rolling in six directions at once -- flashes of light from exploding transformers -- barefooted stumbling for my boots in a world of broken glass and crockery -- found by the police hours later walking down the street, stunned, with blood pouring from my ankle and a gallon jug of water in my hand.
Or, replace it with an equivalent experience of your own. Conrad had looked death in the face and learned how to face it. His Captain MacWhirr stands fast in the fury and doesn't let his imagination of untold horrors interfere with guiding the ship through the storm. At one point, he tells Jukes in the wheelhouse, "We must trust her [the ship] to go through it and come out the other side, That's plain and straight."
Conrad is a wise teacher and a great writer. TYPHOON did more than survive a second reading: It awed me a second time.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
"Typhoon" is what you would expect from a Joseph Conrad novel, a riveting description of action in an exotic setting. Read morePublished on March 19 2010 by James Gallen
This novel is unforgettable. Conrad creates a sense of terror regarding the forces of nature that will stand up to any special effects that Hollywood can produce. Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2000 by R. J. Marsella
The stories in this book are sea tales in Conrad's tradition of pessimistic, psychological fiction. Typhoon is particularly good, but the other stories are interesting as well. Read morePublished on June 21 2000