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What a good review of a difficult and disturbing story! It sounds to me like you are absolutely right to mistrust the Captain's words, Danielle, and that being stated so boldly, we are encouraged to read the exact opposite into what he says. Was the ending what you expected it to be?


I've never read any of Helprin's shorter fiction, but I did admire his novel 'Winter's Tale'. I'd definitely recommend it. :-)


Litlove--I was sort of wondering why the author did state it all so boldly--it almost makes it hard to read the story in any other way. The Captain actually started out wanting to somehow get the ape back to land, but when his control of the ship started to dwindle he changed his tune quickly. The ape went from being so human-like to being completely expendable in view of the 'business' of getting ship and its contents back home safely. I had a feeling it would all end badly for someone. I'm not sure I expected him to be the one to dump him overboard and in such a manner, though.
Victoria--I'd heard of Helprin, but I've never picked up any of his books, I'll have to take a look at "Winter's Tale' now.


Interesting story. It sounds like a type of moral dilemma or morality play. What is the value of a lesser life form? Very difficult and thanks for reviewing it.

heather (errantdreams)

I was never all that fond of stories told in letters, but very well-written ones can be fascinating.

Dorothy W.

I agree with Litlove that you were right not to take those last words at face value. What an interesting story! I don't think many people write stories in letters these days, so it's interesting that he chose to tell the story that way.


Jaimie--Definitely a morality tale. The author gives you lots to think on, well after the story is over.
Heather--I'm a big fan of epistolary novels, so I was instantly drawn to this one. The format is well done and works well in this situation.
Dorothy--I think the events in the story were exactly opposite how the narrator describes them. I suppose Helprin wanted to provoke the reader. I wonder why he chose this format, but considering the time and circumstances it worked well to tell the story through letters. Letters that were never sent since the ape never made it into port.

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