• Title: Come Hell or High Water: A Really Sullen Memoir
  • Author: Gregory Jaynes
  • Released: 1997-10-01
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 256
  • ISBN: 0865475229
  • ISBN13: 978-0865475229
  • ASIN: 0865475229
Let's face it: Gregory Jaynes doesn't do anything halfway. When he drinks, he gets drunk; when he gets horny, he ends up in bed with a betel nut-chewing Samoan prostitute; and when he decides to leave his wife and family in order to find himself, he goes all the way to the South Pacific--on a Russian icebreaker! Jaynes brings a similar neck-or-nothing attitude to his memoir of this voyage of discovery; subtitled A Really Sullen Memoir, Come Hell on High Water is Jaynes's harrowing and hilarious account of several months spent at sea with the surliest bunch of seafarers since the HMS Bounty. Among the inmates on board this very slow boat to Singapore are Toxic June, an elderly woman who delights in setting the passengers against each other; Agatha of the Lake District, a flirtatious septuagenarian, and her husband, Dick; Tennessee Ernie, a veteran of the war in the Pacific whose wartime reminiscences form the bulk of his conversation; and Little "Born to be Wild" Peter, a fussy retired pharmacist with an underdeveloped sense of humor.

As if a boatload of squabbling senior citizens weren't already enough to set Jaynes on edge, he must also contend with stopped-up toilets, inedible meals prepared by the Russian cook "Tuber, the Root-Crop Czar," and the boat's constant vibration which makes his "testicles hum like a tom cat's." Is it any wonder that Jaynes is crying like a baby in the captain's quarters before the ship even reaches the Philippines? Don't be fooled by the subtitle--Jaynes's memoir might be slightly cranky, but it's far from sullen.

From Library Journal Jaynes has been a national correspondent, a foreign correspondent, and a columnist for Time, Life, and the New York Times. When he reached the age of 47, he took off a year from work to travel around the globe on a cargo ship. After weeks of indecision, he finally plunked down his money ($100/day) to book passage on a refurbished Russian icebreaker called Tiksi. He joined the British-officered ship with its Russian crew in England and soon discovered that his fellow passengers were senior citizens with compelling personalities. His journal of the day-to-day life aboard ship is humorous and highly introspective. The company is bad, the Russian staff surly and silent, and, to top it off, the food, cooked by "Tuber the Root Crop Tsar," inedible. Jaynes is a brilliant writer and storyteller whose memoir captures the reader's attention, but overall his tone is one of brooding and dark soul-searching. It's not always a happy book, but it surely makes for good reading. Recommended for public libraries.?John Kenny, San Francisco P.L.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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