Catalogue


Sacred hunger /
Barry Unsworth.
imprint
New York : Norton, 1993.
description
629 p. ; 21 cm.
ISBN
0393311147
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Norton, 1993.
isbn
0393311147
general note
"Winner of Booker Prize"--Cover.
catalogue key
1097757
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Man Booker Prize for Fiction, GBR, 1992 : Won
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1992-07:
With its graphic depiction of the 18th-century slave trade and a society driven by the desire to maximize profit regardless of the human cost, this new novel by the author of Pascali's Island (Penguin, 1988) offers a dark view of human nature clearly relevant to our own time. William Kemp hopes to recoup his losses in cotton speculation by entering the Triangular Trade. As ship's doctor, his nephew Matthew experiences firsthand the horrors of shipboard life, ultimately leading a revolt that lands the crew and remaining slaves on the southeastern coast of Florida. Here they try to establish ``a paradise place,'' but events force Matthew to conclude that ``nothing a man suffers will prevent him from inflicting suffering on others. Indeed, it will teach him the way.'' Though the pace drags at times, taken as a whole this is a masterful effort that delivers an important message. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.-- David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1992-05-11:
This vast, vividly realistic historical novel follows the crew of a slave-trading vessel from its Liverpool shipyard through days at anchor bartering human cargo on the Guinea Coast, then on beyond the slaver's disease-ridden and mutinous Middle Passage. With an epic ambition that seems suited to its 18th-century setting, Unsworth ( Stone Virgin ) takes on a big theme--greed, the animating ``sacred hunger'' of the title--but at the same time fills his huge canvas with the alternately fascinating and horrifying details of shipboard life, colonial plunder and power struggles, the London clubs of absentee sugar lords, even a pidgin Utopia created by slaves and seamen on unclaimed Florida coast. Deftly utilizing a flood of period detail, Unsworth has written a book whose stately pace, like the scope of its meditations, seems accurately to evoke the age. Tackling here a central perversity of our history--the keeping of slaves in a land where ``all men are created equal''--Unsworth illuminates the barbaric cruelty of slavery, as well as the subtler habits of politics and character that it creates. As intricate as it is immense, this masterwork rewards every turn of its 640 pages. (July) one with a continuing fascination for readers and authors alike--Unsworth illuminates its cruel ties and miscarriages, its floggings and murders, as well as the subtler habits of politics and character that it creates. As intricate as it is immense, this masterwork rewards every turn of its 640 pages. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
This brilliantly suspenseful period piece about the slave trade in the 18th century is also a meditation on how avarice dehumanizes the oppressor as well as the oppressed.
Utterly magnificent....By its last page, you will be close to weeping.
Wonderful and heartbreaking....It is a book of grace and meditative elegance, and of great moral seriousness.
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Summaries
Main Description
Sacred Hunger is a stunning and engrossing exploration of power, domination, and greed. Filled with the "sacred hunger" to expand its empire and its profits, England entered full into the slave trade and spread the trade throughout its colonies. In this Booker Prize-winning work, Barry Unsworth follows the failing fortunes of William Kemp, a merchant pinning his last chance to a slave ship; his son who needs a fortune because he is in love with an upper-class woman; and his nephew who sails on the ship as its doctor because he has lost all he has loved. The voyage meets its demise when disease spreads among the slaves and the captain's drastic response provokes a mutiny. Joining together, the sailors and the slaves set up a secret, utopian society in the wilderness of Florida, only to await the vengeance of the single-minded, young Kemp.
Unpaid Annotation
In this Booker Prize-winning work set in colonial America, Unsworth follows the failing fortunes of William Kemp, a merchant pinning his last chance to a slave ship; his son, who needs his father's fortune; and his nephew, who sails on the ill-fated ship.

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