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Publisher's Summary

In the summer of 1931, a cruise ship sails for Bremerhaven, Germany. Among its many diverse passengers are a Spanish noblewoman, a drunken German lawyer, an American divorcee, a pair of Mexican Catholic priests, a number of Germans returning to their homeland from Mexico, and a corrupt, avaricious company of Spanish singers and dancers who scheme to defraud the other passengers of their money.
In the mingling and meeting of these varied personalities on board the ship of fools, a drama of good and evil takes place, from which no one will emerge unchanged. Rich in incident, passion, and treachery, the novel’s themes of nationalism, cultural and ethnic pride, and basic human frailty are as relevant today as they were when the novel first appeared in 1945.
©1945 Katherine Anne Porter (P)1995 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“A creative feat…Ship of Fools not only crowns Miss Porter’s notable career but takes and should hold an eminent place among contemporary novels.” (Chicago Tribune)
“Porter's passengers are extremely diverse in nationality, age, class, education and experience. Grace Conlin does a splendid job portraying them.” (AudioFile)
“This vivid, beautifully written story is bathed in intelligence and humor.” (New York Herald Tribune)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Scott on 08-25-16

Guaranteed Depression

A ship of fools. The title says it all. A ship full of petty people with petty prejudices and self-righteous arrogance that, we know in hindsight, led to World War II. This is a book of character studies, and not one of these misfits is sympathetic. I stayed with it until the end because I kept hoping the boat would sink. I also hoped for an epiphany from the author, something to give this pointless tale a point. I've read over 1,200 novels and I've rarely encountered so many unlikeable characters (other than in the novels of Jonathan Franzen). Now I need some Prozac.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Robert in SFO on 02-24-12

Terrific reader.

Grace Conlin does a terrific job of narrating the story. The novel itself is actually more a series of short stories more than a coherent novel. But the characters are memorable and many parts of it are engaging. The themes of pre-WW II German culture and anti-Semitism are explored well. Her insights about marriage and relationships are spot on. Definitely engaging even if it doesn't have a compelling overall narrative.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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