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Sacred Hunger has ratings and reviews. Violet said: Another bloated Booker prize winner. Shared the prize with the infinitely more sophisticate. Sacred Hunger [Barry Unsworth] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Winner of the Booker Prize for Fiction: Possibly the best novel I’ve. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. This vast, vividly realistic historical novel follows Sacred Hunger – Kindle edition by Barry Unsworth. Download it.

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Enter your mobile number or email address below and we’ll send you brry link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer – no Kindle device required. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Winner of the Booker Prize A historical novel set in the eighteenth century, Sacred Hunger is a stunning, engrossing exploration of power, domination, and greed in the British Empire as it entered fully into the slave trade and spread it throughout its colonies.

Barry Unsworth follows the failing fortunes of William Kemp, a merchant pinning his last chance to a slave ship; his knsworth who needs a fortune because he is in love with an upper-class woman; and hugner nephew who sails on the ship as its doctor because he has lost all he has loved.

The voyage meets its demise when disease spreads among the slaves and the captain’s drastic response provokes a mutiny. Joining together, the sailors and the slaves set up a secret, utopian society in the wilderness of Florida, only to await the vengeance of the single-minded, young Kemp.

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Editorial Reviews From Publishers Weekly This vast, vividly realistic historical novel follows the crew of a slave-trading vessel from hjnger Liverpool shipyard through days at anchor bartering human cargo on the Guinea Coast, then on beyond the slaver’s disease-ridden and mutinous Middle Passage.

With an epic ambition that seems suited to its 18th-century setting, Unsworth Stone Virgin takes on a big theme–greed, the animating “sacred hunger” of the title–but at the same time fills his huge canvas with the alternately fascinating and horrifying details of shipboard life, colonial plunder and power struggles, the London clubs of absentee sugar lords, even a unswogth Utopia created by slaves and seamen on unclaimed Florida coast.

Deftly utilizing a flood of period detail, Unsworth has written a book whose stately pace, like hungsr scope of its meditations, seems accurately to evoke the age.

Brutality and Redemption in ‘Sacred Hunger’ : NPR

Tackling here a central perversity of our history–the keeping of slaves in a land where “all men are created equal”–Unsworth illuminates the barbaric cruelty of slavery, as well as the subtler habits of politics and character that it creates. As intricate as it is immense, this masterwork rewards every turn of its pages. July one with a continuing fascination for readers and authors alike–Unsworth illuminates its cruel ties and miscarriages, its floggings and murders, as well as the subtler habits of politics and character that it creates.


Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc. With its graphic depiction of the 18th-century slave trade and a society driven by the desire to maximize profit regardless of the human cost, this new novel by the author of Pascali’s Island Penguin, offers a dark view of human nature clearly relevant to our own time.

William Kemp hopes to recoup his losses in cotton speculation by entering the Triangular Trade. As ship’s doctor, his nephew Matthew experiences firsthand the horrors of shipboard life, ultimately leading a revolt that lands the crew and remaining slaves on the southeastern coast of Florida. Here they try to establish “a paradise place,” but events force Matthew to conclude that “nothing a man suffers will prevent him from saccred suffering on others. Indeed, it will teach him the way.

Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries. See all Editorial Reviews. Product details File Size: Anchor January 10, Publication Date: January 10, Sold by: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention sacred hunger slave trade slave ship barry unsworth matthew paris booker prize erasmus kemp historical fiction liverpool merchant main characters human nature human beings unssorth read thought provoking eighteenth century william kemp ship doctor highly recommended open sea quality of mercy.

Showing of reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Unswworth can’t say that I enjoyed reading this book. But I did find it hunter, enlightening, wonderfully written and thought provoking. The title refers to the hunger for profit and societal status that is evidently engrained in human beings– at least some of us, maybe most of us– and the cost of this hunger to the rest of humanity.

Set in the midth century, the two central characters are English cousins. Erasmus Kemp is the son of an ambitious merchant whose hopes for financial redemption lie in a slave ship that he is backing. Erasmus is a materialistic, self-centered young man who is focused only on his own aggrandizement. He hates his cousin Matthew Paris, who is everything Erasmus is not. Paris is a doctor, an intellectual, and a progressive thinker.

He’s been imprisoned nunger publishing his heretical views on evolution, and while he was being humiliated and incarcerated his beloved wife and unborn child died. He’s guilt-ridden and doesn’t much care about his future, which is why he agrees to become the physician on the slave ship his uncle owns.

No one, it seems, is blameless in the slave trade.

Booker club: Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth | Books | The Guardian

Not the sailors forced into service and treated, in some cases, as cruelly as the human cargo. Not the Africans who sell their captured countrymen for beads and muskets. Not the English, whose hunger for worthless and harmful sugar fuels their hunger for an inhuman trade in humanity.

Not Matthew Paris, who, despite his distaste for cruelty and injustice, is complicit in the slave trade. He examines the Africans brought on board to ensure that they are healthy enough to survive the journey so they can be resold.

It’s clear from the beginning of the novel that nothing good will ultimately come of all this.

Sacred Hunger Reader’s Guide

But for a brief time there is hope A Paradise found. Barry Unsworth’s view of human nature may be on target.


It may be the way things were and are and always will be, in one way or another. But there’s no joy in reading about it. Barry Unsworth’s novel, “Sacred Hunger” could well have been two books.

The phrase, Sacred Hunger, refers to the power of total control and, more, the desire to own all of a family, a country, a continent – and this total control is the product of Sacred Hunger. The novel is set in the 17th century in England, America, the Carribbean and Africa.

The story behind “Sacred Hunger” is one of values. Author Unsworth takes to young men, cousins, who need to make money and restore their families’ fortunes. One father who is desperate, decides to build a slave ship and use it to buy slaves in Africa which are then traded for cotton and rum in the Caribbean and American colonies. Each of the young men are remarkable for their sense of morality and individual analyses of the characteristics of moral values. Paris, the cousin who becomes a surgeon and is hired as physician on his uncle’s slave ship presents a full blown description description of a slave ship, the slaves and captors, captain and crew.

The other cousin, Erasmus, stays at home to rescue the family fortune through careful stock market trades. His is a story of complicated love. In an unusual final twist, long after the ship has been lost, the homebound cousin returns to Africa to find his cousin and their ship. In that last quarter of the book, we meet the homeland of the slaves and Indian tribes in Africa.

Author Barry Unsworth’s historical research and his agility at weaving it into a story is like a theater set design, simply awesome.

Likewise his writing skills are flawless. One page into this book and you’re his for every page till the last. The prose is magnetic and lyrical – leaning more toward poetry than narrative essay. Although I enjoyed the book as one of the best pieces of literature I’ve ever read, a good deal of that pleasure came from his use of language.

The following are a few of the hundreds that fill the book: Smoke from the fires rose in slow plumes and the cabbage palms outside the stockade stood motionless and stiff, the dead, withered lower fronds bright rust-colour where the sun caught them. The characters are more developed than any I’ve ever known. Make this the next book on your nightstand.

You won’t regret it.

Sacred Hunger

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Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a giveaway. What other items do customers buy after viewing this item? A Novel Kindle Edition. Less Winner of the Pulitzer Prize: Customers who viewed this item also viewed. The Moons of Gunger Vintage International. The Narrow Road to the Deep North: A novel Vintage International.

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