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4.0 out of 5 starsReally liked it, except for the ending...
Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2013
Terrific ride and read; I've been sailing off of Provodenciales in the Bahamas (Provo), and have scuba dived out in the indescribable blue water, and saw not just sharks, but hammerheads---and Shubaly's experiences rang true. The lush-seeming tropical paradise of the Turks and Caicos, as in all the islands is a mirage; the islands are limestone, jagged,sharp and unforgiving if you stumble or fall. The only green things are palm fronds, spots of cultivated vegetation mainly cacti (Turkish head turban- shaped)and areas planted that way for the tourist sector, so I understand the whole island topography, as well. Shipwrecks occur regularly on the jagged rocks in the ocean, and I appreciated the metaphor of his life as a wreck, the actual and the shipwreck of a beautiful boat, against the horrific events of- the wreck of---September 11, 2001. I enjoyed the true feeling of this piece, appreciated the craft of a very good wordsmith, but the ending needs work.It feels like the author just quit, or like there was more to say, or---? Can't exactly put my finger on it; perhaps it was on purpose? Just left me a little puzzled.
There is a lot to like in Shubaly's story. The premise is interesting and the plotline has a lot of potential. Some reviewers are bothered by the fact that the protagonist didn't appear to learn anything from the whole experience, but that's life, isn't it? It's usually only in works of fiction that a person experiences an epiphany and changes their life, even when events make it painfully clear to everyone else what is needed.
Unfortunately, the writing doesn't quite keep up with the story, which would have benefitted greatly from a good editor. The phrasing is frequently sloppy, the chronology jumps are in places clunky and distracting, and there is so little character development that it is difficult to feel invested in any of the actors.
I hope someday the author will rework the story. It is worth telling, but this reads more like a first draft than a finished, published work.
Reviewed in the United States on February 29, 2012
"Shipwrecked" by Mishka Shubaly is a Kindle Single about the author's experience on his friend's boat that wrecked on some rocks on the coast of a mainly uninhabited island in the Caribbean. There was a small settlement many miles from where the owner, his wife and the man's 89-year-old father, another crew member and the author wound up, so someone had to walk all that distance in order for help and rescue to be found. The author packed up a gallon of water and a little food and set off on his trek.
The story is okay, but if I didn't want to finish it, I could have let it go. There is a lot about the author's drinking and his hangovers, and not a whole lot about the other people on the boat. I don't have a real sense of the captain or his wife's personalities or the 89-year-old father or the other crew member. There were some tense moments when storms came up and also an enjoyable fishing scene, but other than that, I wasn't enthralled with the story.
I hadn't heard about this experience until reading about it, and by the title I thought this was a much bigger sailing vessel and that the time being shipwrecked was much longer. This was an okay story that I gave three stars, but I don't consider anything that I read a waste of my time. There is always something to learn.
OK. I guess I have to start with full disclosure. With the exception of the old man in the story, every one mentioned, including the boat, is a good friend of mine. I even get a cameo mention as the mom's boyfriend who gave him the ultra nerdy sandals. This is a true story and I knew most of the details shortly after they happened.
That said, it caught my rapt attention anyway. It was totally suspenseful despite knowing the ending. The characters were drawn in depth and exactly to life, and Mishka paints the joys, fears, and dangers of sailing on the Caribbean beautifully. I also had taken the helm of Breath during the wee hours of the morning while everyone else was asleep below decks. Once I saw a huge cruising ship appear above the horizon like a humungous Christmas tree headed right at us at 25 knots. I imagined the Captain at the wheel with his fifth Piña Colada in his hand, recently retired from the Exon Valdez, chatting up some buxom, bikini clad beauty, while our fate was to be as a small, splintered toothpick in its maw. I once surfaced after SCUBA diving for lobsters only to have my buddy scream at me, "Didn't you see that shark? He practically had his snout up your butt." Mishka captures all these joys and more, so I strongly recommend that you read the story - you will not be disappointed. And then hop a plane and go swim with the sharks.
5.0 out of 5 starsLucid Writing About An Insane Life
Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2011
Mishka Shubaly shows a rare talent for exuberantly ill-advised decision-making, and an even rarer talent to shape these decisions' consequences into a riveting narrative--one that manages to intertwine the straightforward, slightly technical appeal of a particularly well-written "Drama In Real Life!" yarn, the perceptive blend of introspection and empathy of a David Carr, and the wry detachment from his prior incarnations of a Pete Bagge. It's hard to write too much without revealing the narrative, which is best left to reveal itself, but I will say that it's hard to imagine a reader who will find this disappointing, and that if Shubaly ever runs out of tales of adventure and misspent youth, I suspect he could do quite a good job on the Studs Terkel beat.
Right from the start I thought this was boring and scrappy. There was a lot of irrelevant detail about the various characters that had very little bearing on their subsequent involvement in the story. The story itself was very short, comprising 'boat gets stuck on some rocks', and they get rescued. They knew where they were and that help was available on the other side of the island so there's none of the usual uncertainties of survival. One of them has a slightly difficult trek across the island when the most exciting thing to happen was to drink his own urine. Each bit of the storyline failed to expand and there was no proper plot. I hate writing negative reviews but this really was a waste of time. At least it was all over quickly as its so short!