We, The Drowned by Carsten Jensen

We, The Drowned is a wonderful novel by Danish author Carsten Jensen.  The book spans several generations of the villagers in the shipping town of Marstal and tells tales of the sailors that journey abroad  and the women and children who stay behind.  Both the author and the translator have done a tremendous job shaping this novel with words that convey exactly what they were meant to convey.

"Our mother sticks a knife in our heart when we say goodbye on the wharf.  And we stick a knife in hers when we go.  And that's how we're connected: through the hurt we inflict on one another."

Jensen develops each character's life fully - from youth to old age - as well as his and her motivations: to sail, to kill, to fight and to love.  My favourite may be Albert Madsen's story and his search for his father, who disappeared into the South Pacific.  The tale of the town as well as the tale of an era that begins pre-war and ends as soldiers come home is enjoyable for those looking for an armchair nautical adventure.