"At sunrise on the first of April 1928, an ordinary young man of eighteen years left his home town, a village in the Thuringian hills of Germany, and went to Hamburg." Thus begins a departure from the ageless myth of initiation: an adventuring April fool discovers life, loss, and love, by way of the sea. The lad stumbles into the employ of Worldmate Shipping, an unusual company of sea captains who put their oars in troubled waters. Along the way the lad becomes a scullion, a murder suspect, a waiter in ships, a stowaway and a seaman. The story unfolds in the years from 1928 to 1935, in the Germany of the Nazi seizure of power and in the America (and Europe) of the Great Depression. It is a tale of ships and seaports, of smuggling, shipwreck, and daring rescues of the persecuted; and to borrow from "Tristram Shandy," a tale at the same time digressive and progressive, with excursions into German history and geography as well as into questions of life as literature, and the ways of words.
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aboard Angus MacLir arms Askĝy Astrid Holm Baltic barkentine Bartel beach Bergen Berthold Bachmann blue boat Bredningsen Bremerhaven cabin Captain Haff Captain Wiek cargo Cassini coast cook Cora Cora and Walter Cora’s course crew dark deck dining Eichsfeld Eico Elbe eyes face father fish fo’c’sle freighter German gray Hagedorn Hamburg hands harbor head heard Heiligenstadt Island Keel knew Kobold laughed look Lübeck man’s Marina mate Merovinger morning mother Nazis never North Norway Norwegian Nutbrown ofthe once one’s Pabst passengers perhaps Polder port Proteus Ragna returned Rindal round Sable Island sailing sand seaman seemed Seewald ship’s shipmate Sierra Morena smile stood streets suddenly Thales thought Thuringian told Tumblehome turned Ubangi Uncle Berthold vessel voyage Waldsee’s Walter Waldsee Warnemünde waves Wigbold wind Wismar wondered words Worldmate Shipping York young Zeno