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Igation through his collection of moldering books But when a strange violent visitor turns up one night on the widow's walk Mercy and Mordecai are forced to flee the house and set sail on a journey that will bring them deep into the haunted history of the Rathbone familyInspired by The Odyssey and infused with beautifully detailed descriptions of the realities of coastal and ship life reminiscent of Moby Dick Janice Clark's magnificent debut is a spellbinding literary adventure. In its basic concepts the book comes down to a story about the Rathbones a whaling family their wives and descendants It covers about 100 years from the mid 1700 s to the mid 1800 s The book is narrated by Mercy Rathbone as she and Mordechai Rathbone whom we meet as her cousin and tutor search for her father and brother who had disappeared years ago We discover the history of the family side by side with them basically by piecing together journals logs conversations and interviews that create a family tree The search takes them far and wide to places like Mouse Island where they discover great great aunts they didn t know existed to a sinking island and a cave with a strange woman who communicates with the birds on her island The history concentrates on the heirs of Moses Moses was actually found orphaned adrift in a barrel in the sea by Aaron Rathbone and the barrel theme recurs as does the theme of crows although the reason is obscure for most of the book The Rathbone men chiefly led by Moses basically attracted women and brought them home to bear male children to work on the whaling ships After the women ended their child bearing years they were exiled to Mouse Island where they lived together Oddly they seemed content with this arrangementIn their uest Mercy and Mordechai are introduced to relatives they did not know existed and they learn about extraordinary events and family secrets However the story seems to bounce around in time and place between their current time and the past that they learn about There seems to be no clear division of time or place so that sometimes I wasn t sure exactly when the character being discussed changed with another taking center stage in another time and place Perhaps the track of the time would be clearer in the written book form perhaps there is a family tree actually drawn in for reference and a map included which traces their travels and then perhaps not I listened to the audio book and although there were several readers the rare alternate voices were not that uniue to the characters as in some audio books where the reader instantly knows who is speaking for instance both Mordechai and the ship s captain speak in the same manner Too many revelations and too many fabrications cropped up that later were reversed and I began to lose interest in the story By the time the truth was revealed the route was so circuitous that I had tired of it and had no interest in discovering it nor could I remember the trail leading the way or even why it was important In addition the use of marine language about the whaling industry and the sea was beyond me and it was not elucidated This problem might be better addressed in the printed book so that the reader could make notes look up information and then look back at the page to clear up any confusing terminologyThe allusions to magic and fantasy and hints at the supernatural with Mercy s gifted eyesight and perhaps her second sight and crows that could lift her and defend her were not that engagingThere were too many characters and which wife was married to what brother and which child belonged to which wife held no charm for me Although it was very imaginative and creative at times I couldn t tell if I was reading something referencing the Greek myths or the Bible with the baby rescued from the sea by Aaron or the Puritans with names like Patience Verity and Constance There were many allusions to the myths with insinuations of sirens singing in the night women in caves and a ship named Argo with the Stark sisters who became the wives of the brothers and were called the Golden Girls and were blamed for the downfall of the family I know I am bucking the tide because most readers really liked the book but in the end it all seemed a bit incoherent to me with the thoughts racing against each other in time line and theme

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The Rathbones

A literary adventure set in New England Janice Clark's gothic debut chronicles one hundred years of a once prosperous seafaring dynastyMoses the revered patriarch of the Rathbone family possessed an otherworldly instinct for spotting the whale But years of bad decisions by the heirs to his fortune have whittled his formerly robust family down to just one surviving member a young girl left to live in the broken down ancestral mansion that at one time had glowed golden with the s. So An interesting and incredibly juicy premise of a whaling family wholly populated by and due to incest an adventure that span multiple islands with old enigmatic people working at looms crazy old people filling their house with beauty because they themselves have none a Penelope like woman supposedly waiting for a husband that left 10 years ago following the whales a Charles Darwin type naturalist who has spent his entire life in a dark attic a number of women blessed with extraordinary beauty but who bring ill luck a sinking island a Circe like woman who spends her life in a cave luring people and incest You d think this is enough to make a cracker of a book It s not It s just an extremely wordy and tedious book that chronicles the fate of a family I d rather they were dead and gone than the whales It s true that it s a glorification of a way of life that I cannot sympathize with even if it didn t have incest in it The well being of a family profiting on the slaughter of countless whales even if this is historical fiction isn t something I feel keenly about Add to that wholly unlikable characters a main character whose main uality seems to be collating and narrating the facts of her family without giving it any color of her own a messy mixture of myths and fantasies and you have a pointless book that took me ages to get through It really only took me two days but it felt like an eternity Every single element in it is normally exactly what I would swallow up without uestion Even the whale killing which I don t agree with I can take in a well written story But this book wasn t for me 2 stars

Janice Clark · 8 Download

Poils of the huntMercy fifteen years old is the diminutive scion of the Rathbone clan Her father the last in the dynasty of New England whalers has been lost at sea for seven years ever since the last sperm whale was seen off the coast of Naiwayonk Connecticut Mercy's memories of her father and of the time before he left grow dimmer each day and she spends most of her time in the attic hideaway of her reclusive Uncle Mordecai who teaches her the secrets of Greek history and nav. 2 stars Meh Just okHave you ever ordered something from a restaurant and when the waiter sets down your dish you instantly knew they had served the wrong entree And then when you tell the surly waiter No I ordered XYZ they replied but that IS XYZ Yeah this book was like thatI was expecting historical fiction with a touch of magical realism and while those ingredients are present it also ended up being an incredibly creepy sometimes strange but most of the time boring bookand that s creepy in a pervish way not in a scary way One scene in particular was so repulsive that it completely threw me off guard I would expect something like that from a horror novel which I despite being an extremely eclectic reader almost always avoid but NOT from a historical fiction novel view spoilerThe scene was when the main character hides while watching her parents having sex sex that during which her mother dies and her father keeps having sex with her now dead mom If that s not disturbing enough when the father finally concludes his sexual escapade he instantly looks at the main character because he knew she was in the room the whole time hide spoiler


10 thoughts on “The Rathbones

  1. says:

    This may have been the weirdest book I have ever read And I've read a lot of really weird booksSome topics covered in this book whaling basic carpentry pickling techniues sperm whale anatomy inbreeding wife swapping kidnapping polygamyIt's just a multitude of creepiness yet I couldn't put it down It was completely surrea

  2. says:

    So An interesting and incredibly juicy premise of a whaling family wholly populated by and due to incest an adventure that span multiple islands with old enigmatic people working at looms crazy old people filling their hou

  3. says:

    From The Millions articleThe Rathbones by Janice Clark The Rathbones is the most sui generis debut you’re likely to encounter this year Think Moby Dick directed by David Lynch from a screenplay by Gabriel Garcia Maruezwith Charles Addams doing the set design and The Decembrists supplying the chanteys Initially the stor

  4. says:

    2 stars Meh Just okHave you ever ordered something from a restaurant and when the waiter sets down your dish you instantly knew they had served the wrong entree? And then when you tell the surly waiter No I ordered XYZ they replied but that IS XYZ Yeah this book was like thatI was expecting historical fiction

  5. says:

    The night I finished reading The Rathbones I dreamed of water and ruin I woke up this morning and had to remind myself that I'm in Kansas not near the ocean and nowhere in the vicinity of a ship or a widow's walk Imagery of water weirdness and whales flows through every page of The Rathbones Janice Clark's art and design background makes it easy to visualize every detail in this weathered and somewhat scary world by the Atlantic

  6. says:

    This is one of the best novels I've read in the past year it's part historical novel allegory fable family saga and fictiona

  7. says:

    Such a great read The Rathbone's is an unusual and uniue tale It was like reading a classic it has a courageous heroine named Mercy a coming of age whaling dynasty heiress amid gorgeous language of ships and sea; descriptions so engaging and naturally vivid I was surprised to not find sea mist and fog and crows out my window Yet this novel also had a boldly strange twist that is hard to define some are calling David Lynch esue A

  8. says:

    In its basic concepts the book comes down to a story about the Rathbones a whaling family their wives and descen

  9. says:

    I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads I really wanted to like it but I couldn't find anything to care about in the characters or the story The mix of history and fantasy just didn't work It seemed lifeless

  10. says:

    After completing this book I felt I had just stepped off that Mr Toad ride at Disneyland Funky and freaky Gothic and nautical Suirmy and psychedelic Hit me with your rhythm stickUsing the travels of Odysseus as her broomstick Janice Clark has created a gothic seaboard world of dubious ancestral ties and longings not fully understood by the