Nominated for Australia's Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book.
David Norfolk, an archaeologist searching for a sixteenth-century Portuguese ship, long rumored to be buried beneath sand dunes of southern Australia, unearths instead the body of a man apparently murdered fifty years ago. Nearing the of his funding and absolutely desperate to find the ship, David hears about a decrepit old man named Kurt Seligman, who lies dying in a shack near the excavation site. Hoping by some chance that Seligman may know something about the location of the Portuguese ship and perhaps even about the identity of the dead man, David begins a conversation that yields a strange and impassioned tale, a cryptic confession of obsessive love and betrayal in the 1930s and '40s. Sensuous, erudite, and framed by sixteenth- and eighteenth-century maritime history and myth, Wrack spins a web of lies, sex, and regret that is as unusual as it is beautiful.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
While searching for the wreck of a Portuguese ship which could rewrite the history of Australia, archaeologist David Norfolk stumbles upon a corpse buried fifty years before. Determined to understand its connection to the ship, David uncovers a story of obsession, secrets and sexual passion.Review:
Shipwrecks and lost loves, the Mercator projection and sand dunes, 20th-century passions and the age of exploration: this ambitious first novel by James Bradley crosses continents and centuries to explore the notion that Australia may have been discovered by the Portuguese. David is an Australian archaeologist combing sand dunes that he thinks may be hiding an ancient Portuguese ship. What he finds instead is a human body from the 1940s. An old hermit named Kurt Seligmann advances mysteriously to the fore of the narrative, voicing memories that may or may not touch on the history of this corpse. More crucially to the obsessed David, Kurt seems to possess some knowledge of the fabled sand-sunk ship. As the old man slips away into illness, David's former lover, Dr. Claire Sen, joins him at his bedside vigil. David and Claire find their own doomed story subtly twinned in Kurt's tale of obsession and love in wartime Australia.
Genuinely gripping, ingeniously plotted, and always convincingly researched, Bradley's novel has plenty of propulsive intelligence to keep the reader hooked. Bradley's first book was a volume of award-winning poetry, and he brings a poet's aptitude for language and repeated images to Wrack. Sometimes, however, this preoccupation hamstrings an otherwise compelling adventure tale. Imagery of shards crops up incessantly, which is perhaps a bit literal-minded for a novel with an archaeologist protagonist. "A memory, or perhaps less than a memory, a shard, a fragment" is a typical (fragmented) sentence--not very helpful prose and not even very nice poetry. If a book is going to invoke Michael Ondaatje as heavily as this one does, it needs to deliver more compelling writing. Still, fans of The English Patient--and Dava Sobel's Longitude, for that matter--should find much to admire in Bradley's cleverly looped and configured tale of ships at sea and lovers in sand.
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Book Description 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 130mm x 196mm x 23mm. Paperback. 1997 kicks off with a startling and original literary debut . a haunting, powerful story of passion, betrayal, obsession and loss. A body is found in the sandhills on the southern coas.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 15 pages. 0.246. Bookseller Inventory # 9780091834944
Book Description RANDOM HOUSE AUSTRALIA, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 4. 13 x 19.6 cm. 1997 kicks off with a startling and original literary debut . a haunting, powerful story of passion, betrayal, obsession and loss. A body is found in the sandhills on the southern coast of New South Wales. David is an archaeologist, leading a team of students digging up the sandhills, searching for evidence of a Portuguese ship he believes was wrecked there in the fifteenth century. Hideously disfigured by injuries he received in New Guinea during the Second World War, Kurt now lies dying in a small shack near the sandhills. All his life he, like David, has been obsessed by the stories of the ship. When David meets Kurt, he believes the old man has the answers he so desperately wants. Answers he will do everything to discover . The story swings back and forward in time, from the days of the Portuguese sailors and their fiercely protected maritime secrets, to the politics of history in a 1930s university, to the playing out of David's obsession in the present. Erotic, sensuous and erudite, Wrack draws the reader into a web of lies, sex and mystery in a novel that is as unusual as it is beautiful. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # MM-43000150
Book Description Vintage, 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0091834945
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: BRAND NEW. NEW Book in Mint Condition -- Great DEAL !! Fast Shipping -- Friendly Customer Service -- Buy with Confidence!. Bookseller Inventory # RP0091834945BN
Book Description 1997. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 130mm x 196mm x 23mm. Paperback. 1997 kicks off with a startling and original literary debut . a haunting, powerful story of passion, betrayal, obsession and loss. A body is found in the sandhills on the .Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 15 pages. 0.246. Bookseller Inventory # 9780091834944