Ship Breaker by Paulo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker by Paulo Bacigalupi
This is an incredible novel set in the future in America’s Gulf Coast region. Nailer is a young boy whose ability to get in and out of the airducts on old broken ships earns him enough to keep him fed and sheltered. He and his crewmates spend all day every day in the claustrophobic ships, ripping out wiring and other bits of ‘salvage’ which they sell to shipping corporations. Nailer is a bit of a dreamer, but also tough enough to survive. It’s when he nearly drowns in an oil pool inside one of the ships that he earns the nickname ‘Lucky Boy’, but he’ll need more than that to stay alive, especially after getting mixed up with a lost ‘swank’, a dogman, and tangling with his amphetamine-addicted father. This is a dark but ultimately redemptive teen novel which explores themes of comradeship, loyalty, class, environmental degredation and environmental justice. Though the concepts of the book are brilliant and create a seamless future world, it is really the characters which make the book what it is. Nailer is a very realistic character who is constantly wrestling with inner conflicts, deciding what kind of a person he wants to be – and he doesn’t have a lot of good influences to help him. Unfortunately the build-up takes too long in this book and there are things in the second half of the book which should have been given a lot more detail – especially some of the fascinating secondary characters. Hopefully there’ll be a sequel to Ship Breaker where some of these things are explored, because I was definitely left wanting more!


~ by ConsanguineousMind on November 8, 2010.

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