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Shipwrecks and lost loves, the Mercator projection and sand dunes, 20th-century passions and the age of exploration: this ambitious first novel by James Bradley crosses continents and centuries to explore the notion that Australia may have been discovered by the Portuguese. David is an Australian archaeologist combing sand dunes that he thinks may be hiding an ancient Portuguese ship. What he finds instead is a human body from the 1940s. An old hermit named Kurt Seligmann advances mysteriously to the fore of the narrative, voicing memories that may or may not touch on the history of this corpse. More crucially to the obsessed David, Kurt seems to possess some knowledge of the fabled sand-sunk ship. As the old man slips away into illness, David's former lover, Dr. Claire Sen, joins him at his bedside vigil. David and Claire find their own doomed story subtly twinned in Kurt's tale of obsession and love in wartime Australia.

Genuinely gripping, ingeniously plotted, and always convincingly researched, Bradley's novel has plenty of propulsive intelligence to keep the reader hooked. Bradley's first book was a volume of award-winning poetry, and he brings a poet's aptitude for language and repeated images to Wrack. Sometimes, however, this preoccupation hamstrings an otherwise compelling adventure tale. Imagery of shards crops up incessantly, which is perhaps a bit literal-minded for a novel with an archaeologist protagonist. "A memory, or perhaps less than a memory, a shard, a fragment" is a typical (fragmented) sentence--not very helpful prose and not even very nice poetry. If a book is going to invoke Michael Ondaatje as heavily as this one does, it needs to deliver more compelling writing. Still, fans of The English Patient--and Dava Sobel's Longitude, for that matter--should find much to admire in Bradley's cleverly looped and configured tale of ships at sea and lovers in sand.Nominated for Australia's Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book.

David Norfolk, an archaeologist searching for a sixteenth-century Portuguese ship, long rumored to be buried beneath sand dunes of southern Australia, unearths instead the body of a man apparently murdered fifty years ago. Nearing the of his funding and absolutely desperate to find the ship, David hears about a decrepit old man named Kurt Seligman, who lies dying in a shack near the excavation site. Hoping by some chance that Seligman may know something about the location of the Portuguese ship and perhaps even about the identity of the dead man, David begins a conversation that yields a strange and impassioned tale, a cryptic confession of obsessive love and betrayal in the 1930s and '40s. Sensuous, erudite, and framed by sixteenth- and eighteenth-century maritime history and myth, Wrack spins a web of lies, sex, and regret that is as unusual as it is beautiful.

 
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Used availability for James Bradley's Wrack


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Hardback Editions

May 1999 : USA Hardback
Title: Wrack: A Novel
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 0-8050-6108-8 / 978-0-8050-6108-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

December 2008 : UK Paperback
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 0-571-24584-6 / 978-0-571-24584-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

May 2000 : USA Paperback
Title: Wrack: A Novel
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 0-8050-6447-8 / 978-0-8050-6447-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

August 1998 : UK Paperback
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 0-7472-6045-1 / 978-0-7472-6045-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Headline Review
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

1998 : USA Paperback
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 0-9650027-1-3 / 978-0-9650027-1-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Henry Holt
Availability: Amazon CA   

1997 : UK Paperback
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 0-09-183494-5 / 978-0-09-183494-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Vintage
Availability: Amazon UK   

Audio Editions

December 2015 : Australia MP3 CD
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 1-4890-8255-7 / 978-1-4890-8255-8 (Australia edition)
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 2012 : Australia Audio CD
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 1-74313-975-6 / 978-1-74313-975-2 (Australia edition)
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   

October 2012 : Australia Audio CD
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 1-74318-181-7 / 978-1-74318-181-2 (Australia edition)
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   

October 2012 : Australia MP3 CD
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 1-74313-987-X / 978-1-74313-987-5 (Australia edition)
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 2012 : Australia MP3 CD
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley, Inc Brilliance Audio
ISBN: 1-74318-193-0 / 978-1-74318-193-5 (Australia edition)
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

January 2009 : Australia Audio CD
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 1-74214-458-6 / 978-1-74214-458-0 (Australia edition)
Publisher: Bolinda Publishing
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

July 2009 : USA Audio edition
Title: Wrack: A Novel
Author(s): James Bradley
Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Availability: Amazon   

July 2009 : UK Audio edition
Title: Wrack: A Novel
Author(s): James Bradley
Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Availability: Amazon UK   

January 2009 : Australia Audio CD
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley
ISBN: 1-74233-309-5 / 978-1-74233-309-0 (Australia edition)
Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Availability: Amazon   

Kindle Editions

January 2009 : UK Kindle edition
Title: Wrack
Author(s): James Bradley
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Availability: Amazon UK   



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