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10 thoughts on “N by E

  1. Michael Michael says:

    This short book is written as a meditative journal of the author’s sailboat trip to Greenland in 1930 which ended in a shipwreck I appreciated his poetic impressions of the wild Greenland shores the wonder of its flower fields and fjords his experience of the Northern Lights and his limited intersections with the Native Greenlanders Sometime the latter was comic as he usually had to resort to gestures to communicate Unfortunately he was a bit of a lech in lusting after their women and it’s hard to judge the import of his raptures over success in that regard The book garnered an extra star due to the wonderful illustrations of his woodcuts from the trip He is justly famous for their simple elegant design and mystical overtones Among his many book illustration projects I have seen ones from the collected work of Shakespeare Moby Dick and Beowulf He traveled far and wide in the world and has a body of paintings from many places The story of the trip itself is fairly sketchy but does have some narrative power The yacht sets out from New York City with captain of dubious competence and a mate who is reviled as a comic chorus for his whininess laziness and sour disposition Kent serves as navigator a role for which he acknowledges he had little experience at Somehow they make it to Nova Scotia then to Newfoundland where Kent had friends from a prior visit The prospects of hitting icebergs in the gales they encounter on the way to Greenland is scary in Kent’s impressionistic rendering At their first anchorage near land at an unknown point in Greenland they get thrown by a storm on some rocks and are forces to abandon it in a hurry and make a rude camp on shore Kent has to hike a few days to reach a village which calls for struggling over peaks and across deep valleys with streams After they are saved his shipmates depart by steamship and Kent wangles a way to linger for some weeks with a Danish minister as host There are some fascinating poems by Natives at the end which reveal some of their humor spirituality and cultural practices; however they appear tacked on with no in depth narrative about the character of these people Unfortunately the writing is often awkward and hermetic ie hard to grasp in its self centered mental flights It also jumps oddly between first and third person Still the narrative is graced with nice touches of whimsy and self deprecation which helps deflate the self important and egoistic perspective elsewhere The right balance between these is important to my appreciation of travel writing as in Theroux and Bryson I am happiest when the author either stays long enough or delves into other resources to elucidate a place and people with some authenticity and depth For example Gretel Erlich did wonders for me in her book on Greenland This Cold Heaven review which was based on seven extended stays including life in perpetual dark of winter and extensive renderings from the work of the explorer and ethnologist Rasmussen

  2. Robin Robin says:

    The N by E first edition cover from 1930 unabashedly states “Rockwell Kent was createdto demonstrate that Nature did not after Leonardo da Vinci forget how to produce a man who could do everything superbly” The uote reflects not only the sensationalist era in which the book was written but also Kent’s old school male ego And contrary to the uote he is not the best author both starting off too slowly and giving away the ending at the beginning Yet his extreme physical robustness and strength of character make him an admirable character anxious to join a risky venture motivated to study and take on navigational duties and ultimately showing the courage and stamina to save the explorers when the expedition fails His dramatic woodcut prints enhance every chapter with their strength and beautyIt is hard to imagine these days that three men sailed up from New York to Labrador and then across the Davis Strait to Greenland in a 33 foot sailboat with a draft of only 6 feet without backup engine or radio euipment Despite rough weather and little of what we now think of as essential seafaring clothing or euipment the men expect and overcome their challenges during their passage—until an fatal error in judgment when they are just one day from their destination After the shipwreck Kent the expedition’s not so humble navigator and cook embarks on an overland journey to find help He alternately revels in nature and struggles to survive a most poignant part of the bookThe third section is about Rockwell’s life in Greenland where he remained for several months after his companions’ hasty post rescue retreat to New York He records his interactions with the Eskimos and their Danish overlords and his boating journeys to paint local landscapes In the last two sections he presents Eskimo poems translated to English via Danish and Eskimo woodcut prints It’s not explained how the Eskimo artists adopted this European style of self expression and storytelling but Kent cautions readers not to think of these artworks as childlike as was the popular opinion of the day Rather he presents these as “fully comparable to the ordinary works of the wood cut period in European graphic art” Those interested in early 20th century Arctic exploration and fans of Rockwell Kent’s art will enjoy this book Small craft sailors will appreciate the voyage and the crew’s reliance on rudimentary navigational euipment The short art filled chapters make it a relaxing and satisfying read for anyone who enjoys stories about adventures to unknown lands

  3. Andrew James Andrew James says:

    This book deserves a lot exposureIt is a fantastic voyageadventuretravel novelThe only other seafaringboat books I have to compare this to is the writing of Joseph Conrad I found this book WAY entertaining than Heart of Darkness I think where Conrad practiced writing as a discipline Rockwell Kent practiced writing as an art it has hints of feeling like it was written by the expats of the ‘lost generation’ but without all the pretentious glamour He didn’t alter his behavior in order to tell a good story he was completely in it for the experience and happened to be really good at retelling it Probably the main reason why I found this story so enjoyable is that he had no experience with boats before his voyage As someone with no sailing experience I was able to sit right along with the author as he learned and discovered things as they were happening Other books where the author is familiar with the seas seem to get too much into technical detail or take sailing knowledge for granted and leave the reader as a mere observer

  4. Alger Smythe-Hopkins Alger Smythe-Hopkins says:

    The illustrations are not up to other books by Kent and the storytelling is choppy and nonlinear Still Kent is a charming old snake and the book is plenty handsome even in reprint The lion's share of the tale is of an ocean voyage from New York Harbor to Nuun Greenland in the summer of 1929 The visits to Newfoundland and Labrador give Kent plenty of room to swagger and reminisce about his wastrel youth and his adventures as the neophyte yet most able navigator aboard offer him a chance to humble brag his way through a couple dozen pages Then shipwreck not his fault He wanted to go outside the inland channel gives him another chance to play the hero Several seductions and rovings later he is on his way to Denmark with a store of happy manly memories The book ends with a collection of poems about bird buttholes and other Inuit fantasies

  5. Patrick Patrick says:

    I thought this was a wonderful read Rockwell Kent is one of the greatest illustrators of his timeand he can tell a tale In 1929 he and two fellow mariners set sail from NYC to Greenland They were shipwrecked and that takes up much of the book Along the way they stop in Newfoundland and Labrador Here he relates great tales of an age gone by Some reviewers have criticized his writing style I found it bare bones and succinct It can be said of much writing Less is More The illustration he did for the book are awesome and can stand alone in making this book a very worthwhile read

  6. Max Max says:

    I came across a pile of Rockwell Kent's illustrations in a nice shop one day and got very excited by the beautiful work The guy at the shop told me that the images were pulled from a copy of Kent's N by E Later on I picked up the paperback and was disappointed Rockwell was not a good writer I found the tale to be painfully dull and the writing stilted awkward and strange I guess It was a long tough slog to get through this one and I now understand why the shop had extracted the illustrations with an exacto knife

  7. Chris K Chris K says:

    At times brilliant and introspective but I expected to see Kent's character strengthened as a result of his travails Instead during the seemingly most relaxing times of his journey his morale too easily slips and he exhibits shameful weakness that barely pits him above today's bohemian dullards who take time out to selfishly find themselves on such banal trips to places like Vegas or Cabo I expected I give it four stars instead of three for the simply beautiful artwork that accompanies the text

  8. Bill Talley Bill Talley says:

    This book was an excellent account of a short period in the life illustrator Rockwell Kent His voyage on a doomed schooner headed to Greenland is compelling and entertaining The illustrations of the voyage are iconic Later Kent's illustrations of his voyage became world renowned Several publishers uses his art as a symbol for their publishing house On top of all this you will certainly recognize some of the illustrations in this book Very entertaining and informative

  9. Peter Krakow Peter Krakow says:

    He draws like like a God and his illustrations really make the book but I wouldn't want to get in a boat with him My brother the sailor gave me this and if I had even pinch of salt in my legs it would have been enjoyable And somehow I was led to believe there would be a lot sex with eskimos there wasn't Still uite an over the top adventure by any standard and he writes about it not in a writers voice but his own Definitely makes for an oddly different read

  10. Joelle Joelle says:

    This was great escapism adventure reading Rockwell Kent was navigator on a small boat the doomed 'Direction' traveling to Greenland from New York I especially enjoyed the stops in Labrador where Kent recounts past adventures there like when there was a huge snowstorm andwell you'll just have to read it won't you?

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N by E ☉ [PDF / Epub] ☆ N by E By Rockwell Kent ❤ – When artist illustrator writer and adventurer Rockwell Kent first published N by E in a limited edition in 1930 his account of a voyage on a 33 foot cutter from New York Harbor to the rugged shores of When artist illustrator writer and adventurer Rockwell Kent first published N by E in a limited edition in his account of a voyage on a foot cutter from New York Harbor to the rugged shores of Greenland uickly became a collectors' item Little wonder for readers are immediately drawn to Kent's vivid descriptions of the experience; we share the feeling of wind and wet and cold of lifting seas and steep descents of N by MOBI :↠ rolling over as the wind gusts hit and the sound of wind in the shrouds of hard spray flung on a drum tight canvas of rushing water at the scuppers of the gale shearing a tormented seaWhen the ship sinks in a storm swept fjord within miles of its destination the story turns to the stranding and subseuent rescue of the three man crew salvage of the vessel and life among native Greenlanders Magnificently illustrated by Kent's wood block prints and narrated in his poetic and highly entertaining style this tale of the perils of killer nor'easters treacherous icebergs and impenetrable fog and the joys of sperm whales breaching or dawn unmasking a longed for landfall is a rare treat for old salts and landlubbers alike.