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The Dolphin People: A Novel (P.S.)

de Torsten Krol

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1018208,127 (3.96)6
Life of Pi meets Lord of the Flies in The Dolphin People, a darkly comic "postmodern novel par excellence" (Sydney Morning Herald) from Torsten Krol, the author of the critically acclaimed Callisto. While fleeing Germany after World War II, a family arrives in Venezuela and encounters a Stone Age Amazon tribe that mistakes them for dolphins in human form. But the ruse can only protect them for so long in this madcap, imaginative tale.… (més)
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This book was bizarre, but in a good way. I couldn't put it down and read it all in one day. At times I questioned some of the author's choices at the beginning, but by the end they all had a purpose.
The book is very dark and gruesome as Erich Linden and his family try to survive in the jungles of Amazonia, however it is never dull even for a second. I was enthralled from cover to cover and enjoyed reading Erich's struggle to hold everything together while questioning right from wrong. After all, in the end, "A parrot is not a bat." ( )
  bleached | Jun 10, 2018 |
What a great, strange read. Exactly my cup of tea. No predictable plot elements or one-liners in this coming-of-age tale. The only off-putting element is the gauche narrator, a teenage boy. Be prepared for lot of mentions of farts and tits and penises.

A Nazi widow takes her two sons to Venezuela to join their uncle, a former SS doctor in hiding - and on the way their plane crashes into the jungle. To survive, they must live off the charity of an Amazonian tribe who believes them to be shape-shifting dolphins, thanks to the quick talking of a batty old anthropologist who has been living there over a decade. Many strange and awful things occur which cause the narrator Erich to realize all the Nazi propaganda he was taught is completely wrong.
( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
At first, I thought The Dolphin People was going to be just another decent read. The premise was intriguing enough, and I was surprised by the characters' Nazi leanings and wondering how that would figure into the story. I didn't particularly like the characters; Zeppi, the younger brother, was babyish and immature, while Erich irritatingly fluctuated being naive and pusillanimous with thinking he was so grown-up and mature. When the family first crash-landed in the jungle, the time sequence was compressed and then confusing, lending a rushed feeling to the unfolding of the plot as the characters adapted.

But, given the rest of the book, these are small inconveniences found only at the beginning. The rest of the novel - both writing and story - is pretty amazing. I found it hard to put down, because I simply had to keep reading in order to find out what happened next. The plot wasn't necessarily fast-paced as much as it was just utterly intriguing and engrossing. I expected the novel to have almost a magical, enchanted feel to it (blame the odd plot synopsis and the cover), yet the readers' first encounters with the Linden family and the Yayomi are fairly gritty and realistic. Increasingly, though, as madness, love, and desperation set in, the almost bizarre sequence of events did allow for that pleasant aura of distance which I so love. The events of the book are entirely within the realm of possibility, yet their sequential occurrences seem so improbable as to give an almost magical realist feel to the story - without any actual magic, of course.

Add this to my list of favorites for this year! ( )
  SusieBookworm | Jun 16, 2012 |
The Dolphin People is not a great book. I'm not sure what I was expecting from it, but I was very disappointed. I couldn't relate to it in any way and it wasn't crazy enough to bring me into another world. The graphic nature of this book is understandable and reasonable. I don't think I will read anything else by this author though. The writing was not that good.
http://dedesyearofbooks.blogspot.com/ ( )
  DeDeNoel | Feb 15, 2011 |
Thorsten Krol’s incredible talent to show creative writing at it’s best is executed in his latest novel The Dolphin People. This novel is so unique, peculiar, odd to say the least, yet thought provoking, horrifying, shocking and yet at times humorous as well. The book is a fantastic literary achievement with much panache and style not seen in others too often. I’ll definitely put it on my “doozy” list, for this tale is a whopper. Putting it down for a second is not going to happen, I promise you.

Shortly after the end of WWII, Erich Linden, a 16 year old German boy is enroute to Venezuela with his mother, brother and new stepfather. After his father died in the war, his uncle Klaus offered to marry his mother and move the family to his home in Venezuela where he owned a successful business. While traveling, their airplane crashes into the ocean and all miraculously swim to safety. Finding themselves alone in the Amazon jungle, with no food, water or supplies, the situation becomes critical until they are found by the Yayomi tribe. Taken to the tribal village, they find another German there, an anthropologist that has been living with the tribe for 11 years working on a book chronicling their culture.

They are told that rescue is slim, and getting out of the jungle alive due to weather, violent natives and no boat to take them away, was impossible. Their only choice was to begin living with the Yayomi until circumstances changed. The Yayomi don’t know what to make of these white people that emerged from the river, and call them the Dolphin People. From their historical legend it is said that there were dolphins that transformed themselves into people and were to be revered as gods. Playing along with this charade seemed logical as to not anger them and cause a dangerous life threatening situation. Erich and his family assimilate into the village until secrets, betrayals, jealous feuds, murders and mischief being to cause the unraveling of this unusual freakish family slowly going mad. Each member of this family has skeletons in their closets and inner demons waiting to burst free, and here in their jungle prison, all hell breaks loose!

Frightening, horrible events breathe evil into Krol’s writing, allowing the reader to perch on the edge of their seats as scenario’s of love, hate, racial injustice and gender issues bring thought provoking passages for the reader to ponder on. There are tender moments between two brothers struggling to adjust in a world foreign, insanity for a mother who can’t cope, bitter rivalry between two men of science and intellect, and an introduction to the world of the Amazon jungle, all wrapped up in tense and emotional scenes that keep those pages flying. Intense, this is a very very intense book. One minute heartwarming and touching as two races from two countries entwine, the next minute you will find yourself cringing in horror as you struggle to breathe and attempt to turn the next page in fear. Standing ovation for this unusual novel. I loved it! ( )
  vernefan | Jan 14, 2011 |
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Life of Pi meets Lord of the Flies in The Dolphin People, a darkly comic "postmodern novel par excellence" (Sydney Morning Herald) from Torsten Krol, the author of the critically acclaimed Callisto. While fleeing Germany after World War II, a family arrives in Venezuela and encounters a Stone Age Amazon tribe that mistakes them for dolphins in human form. But the ruse can only protect them for so long in this madcap, imaginative tale.

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