Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Seven tales of shipbound life

Lisa Alther was born and grew up in Tennessee. Her novels include Kinflicks, a feminist coming-of-age chronicle. Her other books include Original Sins, Other Women, Bedrock, and a book of conversations between Alther and the painter Fran├žoise Gilot (About Women). Alther’s books have been published in seventeen languages and have appeared on best-seller lists worldwide.

Her new novel is Swan Song.

At Lit Hub Alther tagged seven "books [that] are some of [her] favorites for the ways in which they capture both the sublime and the sinister aspects of life at sea," including:
Kate Christensen, The Last Cruise

When I was in high school, my Auntie Mame grandmother persuaded my Latin teacher to circle the globe with her on the original Queen Mary. They sent home photos of themselves vamping onboard in their fox fur boas. Once I could afford it, I followed their glamorous lead. Unfortunately, during my own cruise I came to understand that my comfort depended on the misery of overworked and underpaid people in the belly of the ship. The Last Cruise explores this theme when such a ship stalls without power in the middle of the Pacific. Soon food is thawing and spoiling in the freezers, toilets are overflowing, and the ship itself is surrounded by acres of floating black plastic bags full of garbage. What begins as a sophisticated comedy of manners devolves into a chilling dystopian parable about the future of our overpopulated planet.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue