by Simon Hall
Simon Hall’s second book is set in the mid-1970s during the closing years of the golden age of British shipping, when cargo carriage at sea saw radical change and the romance of being at sea in old-style cargo ships came to an end.
This is no ordinary memoir. The prose is vividly expressed, often shocking, sometimes elegiac.
His descriptions of jaunts in forgotten parts of the world are strikingly expressed and there is added poignancy from the charting of Hall’s struggle against decline into alcohol abuse, expressed in a way that is in turn both sad and shocking, “I ordered another cold beer and lit another cigarette, then sat with the ghost of my past dreams while the afternoon died around us and we surveyed the wreckage of all my hopes.”
This is an important work that captures an age now vanished, written in a style too rarely encountered. The great days of the British Merchant Navy are now gone and books such as this remind us of how life at sea was in that era.
I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s first book, Under a Yellow Sky, and this is an excellent follow up.
I would very highly recommend it.
Published by:Whittles Publishing Dunbeath Mill Dunbeath Caithness KW6 6EG www.whittlespublishing.com
Paperback: 240mm x 170mm, 198 pp illustrated