Stephen Speicher

The Toilers of the Sea

Rate this book   7 votes

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13 posts in this topic

I have to say, I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would given Ayn Rand's praise of it.

SPOILERS FOLLOW

I definitely loved the hero, Gilliatt. His singular determination to his goal, the privations he was willing to endure, the brilliant solutions to problems he had to come up with in order to achieve that goal, were magnificent.

What I didn't love so much were the many descriptive passages -- of the Guernsey and Jersey islands, of the violence of storms, of man's relationship with God. It was as though Hugo's way of creating suspense was to stop narrating the action at a particularly tense point, then go into a lengthy description. It drove me crazy! Also, I was really hoping for a clash between hero and villain. Sieur Clubin was such a great villain -- the habitual liar whose soul becomes more and more diseased as he tries to contain his lies -- that I was eagerly anticipating what I thought would be his eventual clash with Gilliatt. Clubin's "offscreen" death was a bit disappointing to me. So was Deruchette's inability to recognize Gilliatt's greatness. (And why did she write his name in the snow at the start of the story? Was it just girlish silliness? I would have liked to know the answer to that.)

For the hero, a 10; but some other aspects of the novel sufficiently marred my enjoyment that I can't quite give the whole book a 10.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this book in this post.

I enjoyed the book - rating it an 8 - but it was marred for me by the ending. I was saddened by Gilliat's loss and death. I can understand why it was so - the novel was about his purposefulness in repairing the ship, and at the end, the purpose was done and there was nothing elso to live for. Even his death was purposeful. But I would have preferred if he had won the love he wanted as well.

I think my favorite Hugo novel is The Man Who laughs, which I read earlier this year. More than any of his other novels, this drew me into the story, and I felt the humor and wit of Hugo's writing. I don't know if it was the translation or this particular story that was different.

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I enjoyed the book - rating it an 8 - but it was marred for me by the ending. I was saddened by Gilliat's loss and death. I can understand why it was so - the novel was about his purposefulness in repairing the ship, and at the end, the purpose was done and there was nothing elso to live for. Even his death was purposeful. But I would have preferred if he had won the love he wanted as well.

I agree. I had hoped that Deruchette would be smart enough to realize that she was being pursued by an extraordinary man, and that Gilliatt would have achieved his final goal.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this book in this post.

I enjoyed the book - rating it an 8 - but it was marred for me by the ending. I

Same for me. It was a great book and interesting and enjoyable. I was so upset by the ending though, that I threw the book across the room.

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It was a 10 for me.

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38 years ago there was a made-for-television movie based on Toilers of the Sea, but set in the American Western Frontier and starring Dan Blocker and Susan Clark. It was called "Something for a Lonely Man" and I saw it -- and adored it -- long before I knew about Toilers.

In the past, I've told people about "Something for a Lonely Man" and pointed out the listing on IMDB (here), but that was all I could do. Just now something wonderful happened. As I was looking up the URL for this posting, I found another fan of the film who had been seeking a copy of it just as I had -- but he found it and you can buy it! (click here)

So this is a recommendation of a movie version of Toilers and I think if you like the book you'll like the movie -- especially the somewhat different ending.

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Same for me. It was a great book and interesting and enjoyable. I was so upset by the ending though, that I threw the book across the room.

I had the same response. The greatest book I have ever read and the worst ending I have ever read. It'd be like reading Atlas Shrugged and having Galt give up hope and commit suicide in the end. Horrble. I still give it a 10. Just stop reading 10 pages from the end and make up your own ending. Then it'll be perfect.

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I had the same response. The greatest book I have ever read and the worst ending I have ever read.

I wonder what point Hugo was trying to make? In real life, don't expect to be rewarded for your productive work or being virtuous?

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I wonder what point Hugo was trying to make? In real life, don't expect to be rewarded for your productive work or being virtuous?

I suppose that is exactly what he meant. After reading that, it is easy to see why Miss Rand thought he possessed a malevolent universe premise.

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38 years ago there was a made-for-television movie based on Toilers of the Sea, but set in the American Western Frontier and starring Dan Blocker and Susan Clark. It was called "Something for a Lonely Man" and I saw it -- and adored it -- long before I knew about Toilers.

Thanks Betsy! I will have to try to find this one.

Glenn

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38 years ago there was a made-for-television movie based on Toilers of the Sea, but set in the American Western Frontier and starring Dan Blocker and Susan Clark. It was called "Something for a Lonely Man" and I saw it -- and adored it -- long before I knew about Toilers.

A DVD-R of the movie is available (here). Go to "Made for TV" and it is on the second (K-Z) page near the bottom.

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A DVD-R of the movie is available (here). Go to "Made for TV" and it is on the second (K-Z) page near the bottom.

Thanks Betsy !

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