characters An Old Captivity 107

characters An Old Captivity

characters An Old Captivity 107 ñ Young pilot Donald Ross has little in common with the Oxford archaeologist who has employed him on an expedition to the Arctic—and still less with his beautiful but stubborn daughter Alix But once the three of them reach the treacherous shores of Greenland in search of the ruins of early Viking settlements their destinies aLand in search of the ruins of early Viking settlements their destinies are inextricably bound by the events that unfold there. Nevil Shute's style will probably not please the modern reader much and that is unfortunate His love of detail and the pains he goes to make sure of what he is stating are characteristics that I enjoy in his texts Sometimes he goes to an almost ridiculous extent to flesh out the reality of his background when it probably would not be missed Yet just as he does this you can see him entering a truly fictional world in which whoops his characters suddenly do resemble real people and his narrative suddenly comes to life It might be the extra effort Donald Ross goes to get the wireless to work something banal and silly like that but we know almost without realising it that Shute is suddenly expanding a fictional context to include the all too likely possibility of future danger and we realise just how much care is being taken The work is not sloppy; it is methodical and I admit at times a little dry Yet when Shute's work really fires it is because of this attention to the right kind of detailAn Old Captivity has long been one of my favourite Shute novels In a way it's an experimental sort of book it takes the long wide arc of a journey from Britain to Canada via Iceland and Greenland as its background The path of a small seaplane is traced with infinite pains to capture the solitariness and the arduous nature of the voyage Its three passengers are linked together in interesting and diverse ways Slowly against the further background of the Icelandic sagas the tale emerges and as usual with Nevil Shute it is not what we are expecting Just when the clean crisp almost mechanical prose has us thinking one thing Shute leaps off into a void composed of history and imagination It's an extremely disciplined piece of writing and I hope you'll enjoy the ride

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And still less with his beautiful but stubborn daughter Alix But once the three of them reach the treacherous shores of Green. An Old Captivity is rather hard to pin down in terms of genre It's clumsy in places too the frame story is okay to begin with but then doesn't really do anything It doesn't match up properly with the rest of the story That didn't bother me too much though I got really absorbed in all the concrete details of this book the plane Ross' efforts to get ready for the trip his worries his sleeplessness the slow growing of understanding between him and Alix Even the precise geography and the bits taken from sagas and so onIt's slow paced and there isn't much magic in it but there was enough to go round for me Nevil Shute won me over

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An Old CaptivityYoung pilot Donald Ross has little in common with the Oxford archaeologist who has employed him on an expedition to the Arctic. Looking for books that I had read in another lifetime a time far removed from this one I came across Nevil Shute's An Old Captivity I had read it in high school and still have the tattered paperback price 50 cents My mom and I used to roam used book stores and Nevil Shute was one of our favorite authors At that time he was well known for On the Beach a futuristic post apocalyptic book that takes place after a nuclear holocaust destroys most of the world It was made into a popular movie starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner in 1959This book is a time capsule of the 1930s and for me a nostalgia read from the 1960s I won't be judging or comparing it to today's social or any other standards which have progressed slowly if at all in most of the world in the eighty years since this was written Until I read this book I was unaware that Nevil Shute real name Nevil Shute Norway was an aeronautical engineer and pilot who started his own aeronautics company in England and helped England develop secret weapons in WWII He was not only an engineer but the best selling author of twenty four novels which in 1950 had sold over four million copiesAn Old Captivity relates the story of an expedition from England to Greenland to take aerial photographs of the remains of a Celtic Church and an old Norse settlement Shute's background explains why this book was so detailed in terms of planning the expedition and actually getting to the site in Greenland It took over half the book to get there However contrary to finding this intricate detail boring I found it fascinating to learn what was entailed in planning and carrying out an undertaking like this It wasn't easy or cheap by any means The seaplane alone cost 25000 in 1933 money The book begins when Donald Ross the pilot of the expedition is on a train to Italy in 1938 five years after the expedition and strikes up a conversation with Morgan a psychiatrist He is disturbed about an unexplainable dreamlike trance he had while on the expedition and fears he might have similar episodes in the future Thus sets up the suspense and it's a long wait to find out what happens Ross tells Morgan of being hired to take Oxford Professor Lockwood and his daughter Alix to Greenland for research the professor is doing on Irish expeditions to Greenland The professor believes that Irish explorations pre dated Norwegian settlements there The professor has one photo of the remains of a Celtic Church and wants to take photos and explore the area There is only a narrow window of time in the summer to do this while the weather is good It takes 70 pages of detailed planning by Ross before the expedition gets underway Once underway each leg of the journey England to Scotland Scotland to Iceland and Iceland to Greenland is detailed in brutal and icy detail Sometimes I felt like I was on that small plane tense that there might not be enough gas or that the fog would roll in before we landedOnce the group finally arrives at the expedition site in Greenland over midway through the book tension heightens and a supernatural unnerving tone creeps in The native guides will not camp at the site the professor has chosen because they say it is a bad place because of the old people Sometimes you should listen to your guidesWithout revealing the rest of the plot which at this point starts to move uickly I will say that I really enjoyed this book initial descriptive details and all I felt like I was traveling on that journey a journey that becomes very exciting at the end view spoiler as Shute takes us into an ancient past hide spoiler