*** LIKE ***
Ports of call in differing voices
A voyage and a novel exploring the boundaries
From my Australian history I already had a vague understanding of the explorations of Lapérouse in relation to his arrival in Botany Bay so soon after Captain Phillip, but not much of an idea of his global expedition. This was an easy-to-read fictionalised account of his travels.
I think the narrative's fractured presentation is what made it so easy-to-read. Instead of a focus on the travails of life at sea, it was about "landfalls". The events at different ports of call, or associated land happenings, were told by different voices. This gave different perspectives, making it almost a collection of short stories that took us on a voyage of discovery of culture, of personality, of the world of the time. But it was much more than a collection of stories! The author showed the richness of maritime and scientific discovery, the bravery and tragedy of exploration and made us question the history of colonization.
I liked it, it was enjoyable reading, but I didn't love it. Some of the chapters were not as strong or resonant as the others.