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Not Wanted on the Voyage by Timothy Findley
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Not Wanted on the Voyage (1984)

by Timothy Findley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8911416,536 (4.06)82
Not Wanted on the Voyage is the story of the great flood and the first time the world ended. It is a brilliant, unforgettable drama filled with an extraordinary cast of remarkable characters: the tyrannical Noah and his indomitable wife, Mrs. Noyes; the aging and irritable Yahweh; a chorus of singing sheep; and a unicorn destined for a horrible death. With pathos and pageantry, desperation and hope, magic and mythology, this acclaimed novel weaves its unforgettable spell.… (more)
  1. 10
    Animal Farm by George Orwell (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Anti-fascist allegory featuring animals.
  2. 00
    The Preservationist by David Maine (calvert-oak)
    calvert-oak: Another retelling of the Noah story
  3. 00
    Little, Big by John Crowley (chrisharpe)
  4. 00
    A History of the World in 10½ Chapters by Julian Barnes (mountebank)
    mountebank: This collection of short stories includes another irreverent take on the Noah's Ark story.
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» See also 82 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
This novel, a retelling of the story of Noah's Ark, is surprising for its unexpected degree of brutality and action. That isn't unwelcome, but be forewarned that it is nothing like the gentler tale you know. It is also filled with contradictions: subterfuge disguised as miracles, miracles disguised as magical realism. Some portions read like an adventure thriller, between mildly philosophical meanderings. It is straightforwardly told, but rewarding in its subtleties. There is more going on here than poking fun at a Bible fable and incorporating legendary elements like the unicorns.

By at least one reading this is an anti-fascist novel, where the surprise is the positioning of Noah as antagonist. Findley leaves an exercise for the reader: what does this say about the morality of unquestioningly following Yaweh's wishes? What morality exists outside of that model? Mottyl senses this question, when she is tempted to call Noah evil but shies away from it and the problems that it poses.

The novel's title primarily refers to what is not wanted, rather than whom. Lucy's presence and symbolism are of a piece with Noah's illusion being the inspiration for Yaweh's flood. It is an illusion to think that even a worldwide flood could eradicate all evil. It is too inherent in what we are, too well disguised to root out and destroy, as Mrs. Noyes comes to realize. Better that we work to appreciate and foster what good we are able to find, and accept what evil we must abide, than engage in hopeless attempts to start anew that will forever end in failure. ( )
  Cecrow | Jan 16, 2020 |
Brilliant, unique, and engaging retelling of the Noah myth; an audacious concept perfectly realized. ( )
  le.vert.galant | Nov 19, 2019 |
bought in Hamilton over Christmas 2007

I loved this book! The writing is great, the story is one we think we know - that of Noah's Ark, and the characters (especially the animals) are wonderful. ( )
  Dilliott.family | Apr 23, 2014 |
I did enjoy this book quite a bit. Basically it is a non-religious retelling of the Noah's ark story in which the flood was caused by god, but a god who appears all to human (but wizard like?), being elderly, smelly, and mad at not being worshiped. Noah and his family are one of his last followers, so are entrusted with building an ark and taking on animals, etc.

Add to this the fact that Noah himself is not at all a likeable character (and quite sexist!), and some of his sons become tyrants on the ark (Locking others down in darkness to look after the animals) and you have a re-telling that may not sit well with those who take the bible literally. But a fascinating story nonetheless.

Findley is a marvelous story-teller and takes us back to a time when animals could talk, and unicorns, demons, and angels were not unusual sightings. The descriptions of the flood itself, and the 'many types of rain' (Pine cone rain, black rain, etc) was fascinating. Highly recommended. ( )
  Bcteagirl | Jul 7, 2012 |
A very good book, very powerful. The unicorn horn scene was extremely disturbing though. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Mar 19, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Timothy Findleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Marsh, JamesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For these especially:
Mottle and Boy; Maggie and Hooker --
and the horses who
shared the days.

And for
The Two Hundred.

Against Despair
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Everyone knows it wasn't like that.
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