Saturday, May 10, 2008

Book Review 4 - The Storm Prophet

One of the books for the flight back from Oz was Hector MacDonald's "The Storm Prophet" which have just finished. I picked it up at the Boat Show when had an interesting discussion with the author about the relative merits of Graham Greene vs Joseph Conrad.

The Storm Prophet tells the story of how a Sydney to Hobart race got hit by a big storm causing similar devastation to the tragic 1998 race, as seen from the perspective of a local coastguard.

It's a gripping read - one of those page turners where you keep wanting to know what happens next with an interesting bunch of characters. Rather bravely the book is a first person perspective from the viewpoint of a woman - but I think he pulls it off well (though of course what do I know!)

While there is a strong sailing and boating theme, Hector never lets the subject dominate the book, which ultimately must live or die by the story he is telling, and the old themes of friendships, love and family are ultimately what this book is "about".

One of the tensions that drives the book is whether some of the key events - such as the storm - are being prophesied by an African boy or are just co-incidences. This resulted in slight hackles being raised by me with a "stuff and nonsense" response. Luckily it works out OK as Hector is in no way close to the magical realism rubbish from writers like Isabel Allande.

If I'd have any criticism is that this is a read-once book. Its a good read on a plane but afterwards there was no hurry for a re-read, even of favourite passages.

But its a minor quibble as The Storm Prophet is a good yarn and should find its way to many a ship's library.


Hector Macdonald said...

Thanks, JP. May I quote you on my website?

Signed first editions are still available from

JP said...

Of course Hector - be my guest :)

So whats the next book about?