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The Dolphin People: A Novel (P.S.) (edition 2009)
by Torsten Krol
The Dolphin People: A Novel (P.S.) by Torsten Krol
No current Talk conversations about this book.
What a great, strange read. Exactly my cup of tea. No predictable plot elements or one-liners in this coming-of-age tale. The only off-putting element is the gauche narrator, a teenage boy. Be prepared for lot of mentions of farts and tits and penises.
A Nazi widow takes her two sons to Venezuela to join their uncle, a former SS doctor in hiding - and on the way their plane crashes into the jungle. To survive, they must live off the charity of an Amazonian tribe who believes them to be shape-shifting dolphins, thanks to the quick talking of a batty old anthropologist who has been living there over a decade. Many strange and awful things occur which cause the narrator Erich to realize all the Nazi propaganda he was taught is completely wrong.
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!
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.
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!
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 further 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 strangelooking 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 to die trying.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.92Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 2000-
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The book is very dark and gruesome as Erich Linden and his family try to survive in the jungles of Amazonia, however it is never dull even for a second. I was enthralled from cover to cover and enjoyed reading Erich's struggle to hold everything together while questioning right from wrong. After all, in the end, "A parrot is not a bat." ( )