Losing Nelson, by Barry Unsworth

I read Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger less than a month ago and was ready for more.

In Losing Nelson, an obsessive-compulsive man copes with life by reliving that of England’s famous Admiral Nelson. This is a slow novel. It loops through similar patterns of obsessive thought and rehashes scenes of Nelson’s heroics/not-so-heroics again and again. I only say this as a warning for those who want plot and action–as a psychological/historical novel, this book is amazing. The writing is stunning, the characters a beautifully flawed and realistically rendered and Unsworth creates yet another book focused on the realities of a sea life that no longer exists.

The journey through this book is slow and winding, but if you like a relaxing read that takes you somewhere without the story necessarily going anywhere, I’d say pick this one up–but make sure you grab Sacred Hunger first, as that book shares the quality and history contained in Unsworth’s books yet creates an even more moving and engaging novel.

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