THE ARK OF THE MARINDOR (1998). This novel by Barry Targan
(1932– ), who has published poetry and other prose, is his maiden voyage
into the realm of maritime literature. The narrative is an inverted Odyssey: a
woman sails away from the memory of an unfaithful spouse and a dead son.
Incorporating flashbacks, Targan’s book details the concluding leg of a picaresque journey by middle-aged protagonist Katherine Dennison, from the
steaming jungle of Southeast Asia to the foggy coastline of northeast America. Dennison is a seafarer’s daughter born at sea, a wartime photojournalist
turned children’s writer, and, most importantly, a skilled sailor. She comes
to realize that she has always believed in mythic creatures and sought mythic
resolutions. In her search for sunken treasure (in the modern-day form of a
valuable computer disk), the all-too-human characters with whom her argosy crosses paths include a powerful magus, a witless satyr, a violated sea
nymph, and an amoral demon.
Like Ulysses, Dennison survives the deadly fury of nature and the calculating treachery of man by her wits, demonstrating a mastery of ship and
self, eventually finding an epiphanic release from the vessel that has served
as the lifelong incarnation of both her freedom and her restriction.