The High Barbaree
Charles Nordhoff is listed as the co-author. But this is James Norman Hall's book. Entirely. It is apparent in everything from the childhood setting in Iowa to the imagery that also appears in other books that Hall had already finished or would write later, including Lost Island and his autobiography, My Island Home. Also conspicuous is a complete change in writing style and tone. The High Barbaree is filled with contemplative narration. Some critics, including Hall himself, saw this as the writer's weakness. It's not. It's what separates this work from his others and makes it, in retrospect, his forgotten masterpiece. Nordhoff was excellent at framing the action in their co-authored books. That is what made their most cinematic friendly books into their most successful, The Mutiny on the Bounty and The Hurricane. But The High Barbaree walks a fine line between the surreality of a dissolving dream and the sure-footedness of a belief in a higher spiritual realm.
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