This is Poe’s only novel. It’s all about the sea faring adventures of Arthur Gordon Pym who was born in Nantucket and is drawn to the sea…whether his family likes it or not. There are four sections with the second being full of exciting events and hard to put down. The third takes a while to get going.
The first section is short and relates what happens when Arthur and his friend Augustus get drunk and decide to head out on Augustus’s sailboat Ariel. A storm hits and Augustus passes out. Arthur does his best but can’t avoid an encounter with a whaling ship. When they get back on land they keep quiet about it all to their parents.
Augustus’ father captains a whaling ship called the Grampus. Augustus helps Arthur stowaway. Augustus built a box where Arthur can hide and he leaves him some food and water. He also smuggles Arthur’s dog Tiger aboard to be with him. He figures Arthur and his canine pal can come out when the ship is too far out to do anything about it.
Augustus doesn’t get to him and Arthur starts to hallucinate and even Tiger is giving him the eye. Finally Augustus shows up and explains there’s a mutiny going on. Peters of the crew joins them and Arthur pulls a scam to fool the mutineers. To make matters worse a bad storm hits. Augustus’ father and some of his men are sent out on a dingy to fend for themselves.
The adventures never stop as they drift and run into one crisis after another. Anything else would be a spoiler. There’s a lot going on. There’s no supernatural horror but Poe expertly gets the real horror of their experiences across.
The third section finds Arthur aboard the Jane Guy that hunts seals. The ship eventually sails to unexplored areas of the Antarctic. There’s a lot of details about penguins etc. and exact sailing locations that slow things down. Poe picks it up when they come to a strange island called Tsalal. The surrounding water is thick and the natives are up to something.
There’s another big adventure to come for Arthur in the fourth section as he gets away from the island.
This is absolutely worth reading. No detectives or supernatural doings but a lot of adventure.