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The Dolphin People by Torsten Krol
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The Dolphin People

by Torsten Krol

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837145,226 (3.88)6
Member:Booksloth
Title:The Dolphin People
Authors:Torsten Krol
Info:Atlantic Books
Collections:Your library, Fiction
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Read in 2009

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The Dolphin People: A Novel (P.S.) by Torsten Krol

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Showing 5 of 5
At first, I thought The Dolphin People was going to be just another decent read. The premise was intriguing enough, and I was surprised by the characters' Nazi leanings and wondering how that would figure into the story. I didn't particularly like the characters; Zeppi, the younger brother, was babyish and immature, while Erich irritatingly fluctuated being naive and pusillanimous with thinking he was so grown-up and mature. When the family first crash-landed in the jungle, the time sequence was compressed and then confusing, lending a rushed feeling to the unfolding of the plot as the characters adapted.

But, given the rest of the book, these are small inconveniences found only at the beginning. The rest of the novel - both writing and story - is pretty amazing. I found it hard to put down, because I simply had to keep reading in order to find out what happened next. The plot wasn't necessarily fast-paced as much as it was just utterly intriguing and engrossing. I expected the novel to have almost a magical, enchanted feel to it (blame the odd plot synopsis and the cover), yet the readers' first encounters with the Linden family and the Yayomi are fairly gritty and realistic. Increasingly, though, as madness, love, and desperation set in, the almost bizarre sequence of events did allow for that pleasant aura of distance which I so love. The events of the book are entirely within the realm of possibility, yet their sequential occurrences seem so improbable as to give an almost magical realist feel to the story - without any actual magic, of course.

Add this to my list of favorites for this year! ( )
  SusieBookworm | Jun 16, 2012 |
The Dolphin People is not a great book. I'm not sure what I was expecting from it, but I was very disappointed. I couldn't relate to it in any way and it wasn't crazy enough to bring me into another world. The graphic nature of this book is understandable and reasonable. I don't think I will read anything else by this author though. The writing was not that good.
http://dedesyearofbooks.blogspot.com/ ( )
  DeDeNoel | Feb 15, 2011 |
Thorsten Krol’s incredible talent to show creative writing at it’s best is executed in his latest novel The Dolphin People. This novel is so unique, peculiar, odd to say the least, yet thought provoking, horrifying, shocking and yet at times humorous as well. The book is a fantastic literary achievement with much panache and style not seen in others too often. I’ll definitely put it on my “doozy” list, for this tale is a whopper. Putting it down for a second is not going to happen, I promise you.

Shortly after the end of WWII, Erich Linden, a 16 year old German boy is enroute to Venezuela with his mother, brother and new stepfather. After his father died in the war, his uncle Klaus offered to marry his mother and move the family to his home in Venezuela where he owned a successful business. While traveling, their airplane crashes into the ocean and all miraculously swim to safety. Finding themselves alone in the Amazon jungle, with no food, water or supplies, the situation becomes critical until they are found by the Yayomi tribe. Taken to the tribal village, they find another German there, an anthropologist that has been living with the tribe for 11 years working on a book chronicling their culture.

They are told that rescue is slim, and getting out of the jungle alive due to weather, violent natives and no boat to take them away, was impossible. Their only choice was to begin living with the Yayomi until circumstances changed. The Yayomi don’t know what to make of these white people that emerged from the river, and call them the Dolphin People. From their historical legend it is said that there were dolphins that transformed themselves into people and were to be revered as gods. Playing along with this charade seemed logical as to not anger them and cause a dangerous life threatening situation. Erich and his family assimilate into the village until secrets, betrayals, jealous feuds, murders and mischief being to cause the unraveling of this unusual freakish family slowly going mad. Each member of this family has skeletons in their closets and inner demons waiting to burst free, and here in their jungle prison, all hell breaks loose!

Frightening, horrible events breathe evil into Krol’s writing, allowing the reader to perch on the edge of their seats as scenario’s of love, hate, racial injustice and gender issues bring thought provoking passages for the reader to ponder on. There are tender moments between two brothers struggling to adjust in a world foreign, insanity for a mother who can’t cope, bitter rivalry between two men of science and intellect, and an introduction to the world of the Amazon jungle, all wrapped up in tense and emotional scenes that keep those pages flying. Intense, this is a very very intense book. One minute heartwarming and touching as two races from two countries entwine, the next minute you will find yourself cringing in horror as you struggle to breathe and attempt to turn the next page in fear. Standing ovation for this unusual novel. I loved it! ( )
  vernefan | Jan 14, 2011 |
At any rate, I really liked this delightfully interesting novel. The Dolphin People is narrated by Erich Linden who is a sixteen year old who travels with his mother and younger brother Zeppi to Venezuela. Erich's father has died fighting on the side of the Nazis in World War II. Erich's mother will now marry Klaus, her late husband's brother who has fled to Venezuela to avoid prosecution as a Nazi. And this is only the beginning!

After changing their last name, the new family takes a flight to the interior of Venezuela where they will live. Unfortunately the plane crashes and the four must figure out a way to live with the Amazonian tribe they encounter. The family learns the culture of the tribe via another white man, Gerhard, who has lived with the tribe for many years. To save their lives, the family members pretend to be dolphin people, almost gods who had been expected by the tribe. As time passes, the family must do more and more bizarre things to continue the ruse. I will not spoil the fun by telling you the results! ( )
  LibrarysCat | Dec 28, 2010 |
I picked up The Dolphin People in a second-hand bookshop in London a while ago - partly because the title and the cover appealed and partly because the Sunday Telegraph review on the front cover compared it to Life of Pi which I adore. I'm not sure I would agree with that - in my opinion it's more like The Beach meets Heart of Darkness but it had me gripped from the first page. BTW - if anyone has read any of my posts on the subject, they will know that I loathe Heart of Darkness but that isn't a snidey way of criticising TDP - I actually think this might be what Heart of Darkness would be like if it was a halfway enjoyable book.

By way of a quick precis, a young German widow travels to Venezuela wih her two sons shortly after the war to marry her late husband's brother. On a journey to the new husband's new job the plane they are travelling in crashes into a remote river. With no possibility of immediate escape the family is forced to join a local tribe where they are welcomed as the incarnation of river dolphins and where they meet an ageing anthropolgist who has spent many years studying the tribe.

The main theme of the book is 'otherness' and the ways in which we perceive people who are 'different' from us and, if I have one tiny complaint, it would be that the author is occasionally a bit heavy-handed in dealing with this theme - however, it's a very minor complaint. The book is utterly compelling.

A bit of a mystery about the author too. Torsten Krol is a pseudonym and the author is generally believed to be a more well-known writer in disguise. I have no idea who the candidates for this may be and would love to know because the writing syle seemed very familiar to me but I can't put my finger on who exactly I am reminded of. Anyway, whether Krol is well-known or not makes very little difference. The fact is that it's a while since I have been so gripped by a novel. I stayed up until the early hours of the morning to finish it and that's unusual for me. ( )
2 vote Booksloth | Apr 16, 2009 |
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(From the back of the book) Shortly after the end of WWII, sixteen-year-old Erich Linden and his family have fled Germany and joined Erich's uncle, Klaus, in Venezuela, where they will begin a new life. But, en route to Klaus's outpost farther inland, they encounter a storm and their plane crashes in the middle of the jungle. Stranded deep within Amazonia with no hope of rescue, they are discovered by the Yayomi, a violent and superstitious Stone Age tribe. The Yayomi believe the strange-looking foreigners are freshwater dolphins in human form - and the Lindens believe that as long as they can keep up the bizarre ruse they'll be safe. But the jungle is a dark , mysterious place, and no place for a family of sham dolphin-people who are ultimately left with only two choices; to escape or die trying.
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'The Dolphin People' is an adventure yarn in the grand tradition of 'Robinson Crusoe', 'The Swiss Family Robinson' and 'Lord of the Flies'.

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