A story of a man adrift at sea and his battle for survival against the elements is reminiscent of Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, but this slim novella reads more like a prose poem with its lyrical imagery, economy of style and stanza-like layout. The shifts of tense and fragmentary thinking-aloud narration evoke the man’s disorientated state of mind, immersing the reader in a stirringly profound experience.
He has no measurement of time. Time seems too specific a word to him. He thinks of whiles, moments – things less measurable. And for a long while he watches the stars, the thin double halo girding the moon, rocking to and fro, building his own constellations, finding his own patterns, drawing his own imaginary lines.
How long? How long has it been? Is this my first night out? I would have been thirstier, wouldn’t I, if I’d been out longer?
... The boat shifts up and down, a lullaby hush.
One by one, the stars go out.