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October 20, 2020 | Rome, Italy

The Perfect Storm

By | 2018-03-21T18:29:08+01:00 November 13th, 2004|Recent Reviews|

By Sebastian Junger

Fourth Estate, 1998. 227 pages.

Sometimes, with a little luck, an event comes to a first-time writer bearing a welcome mat. The Halloween Gale of 1991 transforms Junger into an keyed up Conrad, a voracious narrator who speaks for sea, waves, and the disruption of lives. The story (centered around the fishing boat “Andrea Gail”) is stunning; the prose menacingly direct: “The seas generated by a forty knot wind aren’t twice as violent as those from a twenty-knot wind, they’re seventeen times as violent.”

Junger’s descriptions of the genesis of hurricanes are as arcane as they are sexy — “the squall line starts rotating around the kink.” “The surface of the ocean,” he writes, “is crosshatched with challenging weather.” Junger meets the weather challenge and then some. (The subsequent movie, by comparison, is niggling.)

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