I’ve always been a sucker for sailing novels – Patric O’Brian FTW! -, so I picked up this novel from our library. It had lots of the sailing shtuff, but its jist is the exploitation of the Arctic. The novel takes place in 1845, and describes from a first-person point of view the search for the last great auk. It carefully catalogues the greed and misery of the Atlantic trade, and ends (interestingly for a frightfully hopeless portrayal of the ways that Europeans wiped out animals in the Arctic)with the protaganist successfully hiding breeding auks in the Hebrides Islands of Scotland.
It had an interesting subtext as well, as the main character deals with the ideas of freedom and constraint. It also speaks to balance, as the novel’s main character realizes how mentally ill he is and devotes his time to being a naturalist, and a character who appears to be a coward turns out to be simply a seeker of balance.
This short recap doesn’t do the novel justice, of course, but I enjoyed it, and had to slow myself down while reading (Page’s language is fricking lyrical).