The tragedy of the Titanic was 100 years old this April and yet it continues to speak to us and capture our imaginations. The haunting event is given new life in Allan Wolf’s novel in verse with 24 of the participants – rich, poor, crew, passengers, human and non-human – each telling their individual stories.
We are drawn into the lives of 47 yr old millionaire John Jacob Astor, returning to America with his pregnant 19 yr old bride, Jamila, a young refugee travelling with her small brother, her father left behind because of an eye infection, Thomas Andrews, the ship builder, and Harold Spark the wireless operator. As each relates their perspective, the ominous voice of the iceberg, ancient and relentless, craves it’s fateful meeting.
Wolf has created convincing individual voices for real passengers who travelled on the Titanic. His detailed research shines through, lending the story great authenticity. Biographies of the “voices” are contained in the author’s note along with facts, an extensive bibliography and website references.
The Titanic sinking was widely reported in New Zealand and some of the people in the novel are mentioned in newspapers of the day, giving another perspective on the tragedy. To find articles go to Papers Past click on the Search tab, type in Titanic and then limit by date (try 16 April 1912 to 30 April 1912).
A deeply affecting retelling of a well-known event, giving life and humanity to those who travelled on the Titanic.
Review by Lisa A
image by ISD 191 Performing Arts Programs