Author: Allan Wolf
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Obviously this isn’t a fantasy story. But the story of the Titanic has always been a favorite of mine so I had absolutely had to read this book when I saw it.
Writing a novel about Titanic is, I think, an interesting exercise in balance.
In order to be successful a Titanic novel has to show or discuss something new, or shine a light on some aspect or person that has been previously under-emphasized.
At the same time, your audience knows how this story ends. Knowing the ending to a story often takes a lot of the suspense out of the experience of the reading, which is why such care is taken in not revealing spoilers to people that have not read/watched something yet (with the exception of the ***holes on the internet following the release of The Force Awakens).
Allan Wolf’s attention to historic detail and using actual people who were actually on the Titanic as his only characters (with the exception of one) accomplished this balancing act very well.
The choice to write the story in “poetry prose” was an interesting one. I use quotation marks because I’m not sure it was actually poetry. Mostly it was just every sentence punctuated by its own line on the page with the occasional rhyme here and there. But it did manage to allow the reader to see through the eyes of the people that were on the ship in a way another method of writing may not have.
The only real complaint that I have with the story was a lack of imagery during the sinking of the ship. I ended up relying on documentaries I’ve seen and the James Cameron movie to envision the scenes in my mind. The part where the ship breaks in half I don’t recall being described at all. I had been looking forward to reading that part of the book and then there was just…nothing. It went from the last lifeboats rowing away to everybody being in the water with little in between.
Still a great telling of the well-known tale. I loved reading about what happened to the characters that survived at the back of the book. I don’t know what it is about the story of the Titanic that makes me want to devour everything I can read about it.