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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.
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By Scott on 08-25-16
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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By Carolyn in Ben Lomond on 02-24-12
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.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful