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The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins

The Frozen Deep

by Wilkie Collins

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1626110,587 (3.63)36
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    Wanting by Richard Flanagan (merry10)
    merry10: The Frozen Deep makes an appearance in Richard Flanagan's book Wanting.

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Showing 5 of 5
After reading Collins' A Woman In White, this novella fell short, though it has its own merits. As a typical piece of Victorian England, it represents the utter reliance by women on men. The element of the supernatural (visions, trances, etc.) gave it an extra depth.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this as an important piece of Wilkie Collins' repertoire and found the connection to Charles Dickens quite intriguing. I am amazed to find that this novella (and its original play format) inspired the famous A Tale of Two Cities. I recommend this for fans of Victorian Gothic literature or Wilkie Collins. ( )
  cemagoc | Aug 8, 2016 |
I give this book a solid three and two-thirds stars. It was a good story, but - more action! Less love triangle! ( )
  Garrison0550 | May 10, 2016 |
It’s about two men and two women–the women are the dearest of friends; the men, bitter rivals, though only one knows that, but I get ahead of myself. One of the women is married to a First Lieutenant on a ship bound for the arctic. She’s very close to the younger woman, Clara. Both of the previously mentioned men are also sailors–one, Richard, has just returned from Africa and the other, Frank, is set to go to the arctic with First Lieutenant Crayford. Richard left for Africa some years ago under the assumption that Clara was his for the taking upon his return, but she’s in love with Frank. When her spurned paramour finds out she’s no longer his (she never was, really, he just presumed she was) he vows revenge on his rival, even though he’s no idea who that man is.

Once he discovers the man he so despises is on the arctic expedition, Richard wrangles his way aboard though he’s only just returned home. The boats get trapped on the ice and all of the men come to depend (even moreso than usual) upon one another for their sanity and survival. Richard spends this time trying to figure out which one of his compatriots is his rival in love and eventually does so. The ending wasn’t what I expected, but in a good way–I highly recommend this taut, suspence-filled, beautifully written, little-known gem by Mr Collins. ( )
  vlcraven | Jan 21, 2015 |
Wilkie's Collins' novella "The Frozen Deep" is based on the play of the same name he co-wrote with Charles Dickens. The setting is a British naval expedition to discover the Northwest Passage (loosely inspired by John Franklin's ill-fated voyage). The story is a melodrama about two men on the voyage -- one of whom is engaged to be married to a woman that the other has just broken up with. This fact is discovered after they have been shipwrecked in the Arctic for over a year, with predictably melodramatic consequences. Suffice it to say it all turns out better than Franklin's actual expedition and that the play this is based on was the basis of the ending of a Tale of Two Cities.

Nowhere nearly as good as any of Collins' novels that I've read with little in the way of real suspense, mystery or psychological depth. But still enjoyable nonetheless and worth reading. ( )
  jasonlf | Jul 31, 2011 |
In 1845, an English vessel set sail to explore the Artic. The expedition failed, ending in tragedy and death. Wilkie Collins used the events of the adventure as a setting for his gothic tale of revenge and redemption, [The Frozen Deep].

Clara Burnham is afflicted by clairvoyant abilities; afflicted because her friends routinely dismiss her visions as symptoms of a nervous and frail constitution. On the night before two English vessels set sail for an Artic expedition, Clara refuses a marriage proposal from Richard Wardour, a sailor from one of the expeditionary vessels and accepts a proposal from Frank Aldersly, a sailor from the companion ship. On the following morning, Clara is struck with a vision of terrible tragedy, foreseeing that Wardour will meet Aldersly during the voyage and vengefully murder him. Clara’s dark dream plays out across the frigid tundra and icy waters of the Artic as Aldersly battles to stay alive, and Wardour descends into madness.

Collins trickles out the gothic tale in fits and starts, swinging wildly between narrative perspectives and frequently lurching forward in time. The disjointed result, while somewhat suspenseful, frustrates any smooth pace from developing. On the other hand, Collins mastery of the foibles of human relationships and his faith in the ultimate valiance of the human spirit makes the story a rewarding read.

A couple of points of trivia about the short novel. Originally, the story was produced as a stage play starring Collins himself and his close friend Charles Dickens. Can you imagine watching such a production? What a treat. Second, the underlying themes of the story also inspired Dickens’ [A Tale of Two Cities] character Sydney Carton.

Bottom Line: A solid Collins read, though not in the tradition of Collins’ other more well-rounded and complete narratives. Read it if you’re a Collins or Dickens fan and have a compunction over completeness or if you’re a fan of the traditional gothic tale.

3 ½ bones!!!! ( )
7 vote blackdogbooks | Dec 12, 2010 |
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This novella is based on the play of the same name written, produced and performed by Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens in 1856.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0750912065, Paperback)

A volume of two stories, from the POCKET CLASSICS series, in which a young girl dreads the return of a spurned lover, and the interest of two bankers is aroused by a man carrying a large cash-box around town. From the author of THE MOONSTONE.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:38 -0400)

Based on the doomed 1845 expedition to the Arctic, The Frozen Deep is a dramatic tale of vengeance and self-sacrifice. Exchanging vows of love with sailor Frank Aldersley the night before his departure, Clara Burnham is haunted by the memory of Richard Wardour, and his mistaken belief that they will one day marry. On different ships, the two men have no cause to meet?until disaster strikes and they find themselves united by their battle for survival. When they learn of their rivalry, there follows an act of pure selflessness, making The Frozen Deep one of Collins' most moving and tragic works. The author of The Moonstone, The Woman in White, and Who Killed Zebedee?, Wilkie Collins is widely regarded as the originator of the English detective novel.… (more)

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