Book Review: The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’ by William Hope Hodgson

cover for 1971 edition of the boats of the glen carrig
© Ballantine Books, 1971.
This review contains spoilers


“Being an account of their Adventures in the Strange places of the Earth, after the foundering of the good ship Glen Carrig through striking upon a hidden rock in the unknown seas to the Southward. As told by John Winterstraw, Gent., to his Son James Winterstraw, in the year 1757, and by him committed very properly and legibly to manuscript.” (Source: Goodreads)


Prior to selecting The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’ as my next read on Serial Reader, I was unaware that William Hope Hodgson was a source of inspiration for Lovecraft. In fact, as I devoured the novel, I remember remarking to myself how much it felt like something Lovecraft would write – and no wonder!

The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’ is written in first-person point of view and feels largely epistolary in form (though it is actually a travelogue). There is no dialogue and readers only know what Winterstraw writes. The story follows a marooned ship and its crew first as they encounter an odd island and then as they end up stranded in what appears as a Hell on Earth – or in this case, the sea. There, they discover another ship entangled in seaweed for seven years (yeah, I don’t get that either, but hey who’s judging?).

Oddly enough, despite the myriad oddities that those aboard the Glen Carrig encounter, it is the second ship they find that truly bewilders me and crosses me as unbelievable. I’m all for the time of creatures this group encounters, but I cannot fathom how it is possible that so many individuals survived on ship that was, for the most part, dead in the water. I kept waiting and waiting for something to go wrong, for something truly disturbing to happen in regards to the other boat and well… there was nothing.

Even though I feel disappointed by the outcome of things with the other ship, overall I found The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’ a fun read. For fans of H. P. Lovecraft, it is a must-read. The Wildside Press publication of this book, as well as several other public domain publications, are available on Amazon, free of charge. An audio version can be found on Librivox, an organization comprised of volunteers that come together to record audiobooks of titles that are in the Public Domain.

Rating: 💀💀💀

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