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The High Barbaree (1945)

af Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall (Forfatter)

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Charles Nordhoff is listed as the co-author. But this is James Norman Hall's book. Entirely. It is apparent in everything from the childhood setting in Iowa to the imagery that also appears in other books that Hall had already finished or would write later, including Lost Island and his autobiography, My Island Home. Also conspicuous is a complete change in writing style and tone. The High Barbaree is filled with contemplative narration. Some critics, including Hall himself, saw this as the writer's weakness. It's not. It's what separates this work from his others and makes it, in retrospect, his forgotten masterpiece. Nordhoff was excellent at framing the action in their co-authored books. That is what made their most cinematic friendly books into their most successful, The Mutiny on the Bounty and The Hurricane. But The High Barbaree walks a fine line between the surreality of a dissolving dream and the sure-footedness of a belief in a higher spiritual realm.

The story itself is set during World War II in the South Pacific, in the vast expanse of open ocean amidst the Caroline and Marshall islands. Survivors of a Catalina PBY flying boat are adrift and awaiting rescue. As one day merges into another on the becalmed ocean, the central character, Alec Brooke, remembers a childhood story of a lost island paradise near where their plane has landed in the sea. The High Barbaree is that island. It is a refuge for all those broken by war and disaster. It is a place of memory, of a time when all things were unsullied by machinery, industrial devastation, and war. And it is home. A final destination for all. ( )
  PaulCornelius | Apr 12, 2020 |
This is the least satisfying of all the books I have read in which James Norman Hall has had an authoring role. It seems like it was designed to be adapted for a film script. Even though I understand that it needed to be child-like in order to be true to the way in which we dream, I feel cheated somehow. The parts of the story that pertained to the war-in-the-Pacific experience missed the horror and truncated the emotion. In fact that's what I feel is missing - emotion - a pity really because that is what the storyline is attempting to drag out of a reader. I have not seen the movie but, as it is not still talked about, it may have flopped too. ( )
  gmillar | Jun 28, 2012 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Charles Nordhoffprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Hall, James NormanForfatterhovedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
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