My attention was held and released like a ghost ship that drifts in and out of mist in this story. Based on the Mary Celeste, an American brig found abandoned in 1872 and the people whose lives were affected by it in some way, including Arthur Conan Doyle, this tale was sometimes very slow moving and sometimes very enjoyable. It is historical sea tale intertwined with the Spiritualism movement of the time.
I reached page 143 while in the Honda service waiting room and was fully engaged as I read " Violet lifted her hands, opening them before her as if she were lightly pressing on an obstruction. A door or a window, Virginia thought."
But wait- the service man called my name- seriously? I considered asking him to take the next person. Instead I paid the bill and retrieved my car but I sat in the parking lot to finish the chapter.
The ending left me feeling abandoned. I wondered if my copy was missing some pages. On reflection I see that this work of fiction mirrors the unexplained, crew & passengers disappeared, the ship found intact, floating along on the waves.
Yann Martel and Pat Conroy have written words of praise on the back cover. It merits a read, just don't expect a tidy conclusion, mystery solved. Life isn't always like that.