Book Review by Margot Garnier: The Lure of Far-Away Places
2015-10-15 15:52:48 -

The Lure of Far-Away Places 

by Norman Freeman

(The Liffey Press)


Stories of his long voyages at sea as a sailor are what Norman Freeman offers to the reader with his book The Lure of Far-Away Places. 


Overwhelmed by an urge to see the world, at a young age Freeman was already thinking of traveling far from his home town of Thurles, Co Tipperary. With his brother, they were used to the bewitching sound of the train between Dublin and Cork, and dreaming of the foreign countries shown in the Hollywood films they loved. 


After his studies in Dublin, Freeman joined the Marcony Company as a marine radio officer and spent eight years seafaring around the world – an experience he’s already recounted in his 2010 book Seaspray and Whisky.


This second book, collecting 59 tales originally told on the RTÉ Radio’s Seascapes programme, Freeman ferries the reader with him around the world from the pier of Santos in Brazil to the coast of Mumbai in India.


With humor and poetry, we cross the seas to meet colorful characters, wonderfully described landscapes and surprising stories of sailors focused on the bottle, of love affairs between passengers and crew, and of ships sinking in the waves.


Page after page, Freeman looks back on his life and on great maritime events such as the wreck of the Titanic or the sinking of the Tilawa by a Japanese submarine during World War II. 


Then there’s Albert the albatross, which followed one of Freeman’s voyages for three days; an amorous captain who loved to show the stars to his future women conquests; an eagle that landed o the bridge; the escape of a zoo-bound warthog; the drunk doctor who was afraid to operate on high seas; and the author’s first disastrous tango. 


This book is made for the travel dreamer and the sea-curious who will board for a trip to the borders of the globe without risk of sea sickness. 

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