Sunday, March 1, 2015

Log of the SS The Mrs Unguentine by Stanley Crawford

A Marriage Adrift at Sea (Marriage/Novella)

Log of the SS The Mrs Unguentine by Stanley Crawford. 

Ever want to get away from it all, get off the grid in a remote cabin in Alaska, or maybe retire and travel in an RV for years, or perhaps sail on the open sea, forever leave the hassles and complications of everyday life behind?  Well, this novella may make you think twice about such a dream. In the Log of the SS The Mrs Unguentine, a woman recounts her life at sea with her husband—a crazy, abusive alcoholic who rarely spoke to her.  Mrs Unguentine was literally trapped in her marriage out at sea for over forty years. It was more like a slow-moving nightmare for her.  Loneliness was her biggest complaint on a converted garbage barge where tending to her massive gardens was her duty and comfort, where her husband preferred to communicate via notes rather than talk, where time seemed to slowly eat at their sanity. 

I found this brief one-hundred-and-seven-page book to be thought-provoking, sad, and amusing. At times events blurred into a mirage of fantastical proportions, leaving me wondering as to what was real (their child, for instance), and what was pure madness or allegory (the ending). But mostly the book made me wonder what would it be like to be so unrestrained and captive at the same time.  The couple was free to walk around naked, free from social expectations, free to be creative. Yet they, or more like Mrs. Unguentine, were prisoners of isolation.  How many people would last one year, much less decades, alone with only their spouse and no other human contact? It leaves you with something to think about. The Log seemed like an experimental fusion in self-sufficiency and psychology. It was compelling and at times down-right bizarre.

This book met one of my 2015 Book Challenges: Read a novella.

Happy Reading,


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