Story of a mutiny retold

2008-07-16 00:00

THE last book by John Boyne I read was The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas — the strange, compelling and sinister tale of the Holocaust seen through the uncomprehending eyes of a child whose father is in charge of a concentration camp. It was an extraordinary book although it made me uncomfortable in a number of ways, and having read it, I was expecting the unexpected from Boyne’s retelling of the story of William Bligh and Fletcher Christian and the infamous 1787 mutiny on HMS Bounty.

Turnstile’s story is entertaining enough, but predictable. After all, the story of the Bounty is well known, and, despite some nice fictional touches, and a nod in the direction of politically correct attitudes to the colonising enterprise of the 18th century, it is ultimately a bit of a plod. As he did in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Boyne shows that actions have consequences, often unpleasant ones, but that is not much of a surprise here either.

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