peteg's blog - noise - books - 2015 12 28 Benditt TheBoatmaker

John Benditt: The Boatmaker

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Kindle. The good weather at Mũi Né got in the way of chewing through the books of the year. An airy review at the New York Times was the draw, I think, which I take as evidence that its publicist is indeed as good as Benditt indicates in his afterword. Roughly put, this is a rifling through the lore of Christian versus Jew: we get a carpenter with grandiose notions, alcoholic and violent, irresistable to women, who refuses to participate in the creation of a new messiah after undertaking a heroic and under-described voyage from Small Island to the Mainland via Big Island in a boat of his own making. (He doesn't call himself the boatmaker for nothing!) The man learns about money, which has value as a matter of belief, and the unthinking predation of the Christians on the Jews. Somehow he comes to know that his purpose is to go back to Small Island and disrupt the monopoly of the boatbuilding tribe using the wealth of his met-her-in-Mainland wife's family. I learnt very little, and am left wondering if the author is trying to muscle in on Paulo Coelho's uplifting-neofable racket. The reviewer is dead right that all the twists seem preordained; it suffers from the common all-the-women-are-beautiful-available-and-willing etc. fracture in the universe, amongst many others.