Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Caine Mutiny - 100in1001 book

Ah, what a relief. After several slogs through important, but not always exhilarating, reads, I got The Caine Mutiny. Another WWII themed novel, this one revolves around an eventual mutiny on a ship in the Pacific. There is, of course, a love story thrown in, but it doesn't overwhelm the meat of the tale as they often do and I actually thought it added to the story. The courtroom drama was great, enjoyed how the lawyers made their questions and arguments too. I think I got the most enjoyment out of the characters though, especially Willie Kieth's growth from a rebellious young seaman into a man of more perspective. I may particularly relate to this story now because Kieth's age is at least in the ballpark of mine: someone coming out of college and learning the ropes of the "real" world. There are also some other great characters, one whom I saw through right away I'm proud to say, and this one has a little bit of everything: drama, action, comedy, and love. It kept me interested and coming back for more, especially once Kieth gets out to sea roughly one quarter to one third of the way through the book. I didn't have to renew it so that should say something! I'll rate this one as a Damn Good Tale.

I didn't find the writing to be quite as good as that in A Death in the Family but the story is better and the writing and dialog are always solid, great in places. One bit that made me laugh and has stuck with me is Wouk describes the fireworks and ammunition set off when the boats find out Japan has surrendered:

Now the deck overhead began to thunder with the dancing and jumping of the sailors. And still the bursts of color rose from Okinawa in million-dollar streams, a glory of triumphant waste, and the rattle and roar of the guns came rolling over the water...

"A glory of triumphant waste" was really what got me on that one. Another, with emphasis on the middle sentence:

I'll remember it on my deathbed, if I die in a bed, or wherever I die. Everybody's life pivots on one or maybe two moments. I had my moment this morning.

And finally, just because it struck me, at one point Willie Kieth puts on a "beautiful soft tan suit which had cost two hundred dollars at Abercrombie and Fitch." I didn't know A&F was such an old brand, nor that they actually had quality clothes at one point!

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