Magazine July 29, 2019, Issue

H. S. Cross’s Absorbing World

Fountains Abbey near Ripon, northern England, October 22, 2008 (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)
Grievous, by H. S. Cross (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 544 pp., $30)

Suppose you agree with Samuel Johnson: “No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.” You agree so thoroughly, in fact, that you don’t particularly want to read about people going about in ships. Their time-honored customs, their arcane nautical lingo, their rigid hierarchies, their routine cruelties: All this repels rather than fascinates.

Then an editor (with whom you haven’t worked before) asks if you’d like to review a sea-novel, the second in a series, by a writer

To Read the Full Story

This article appears as “A World Unto Itself” in the July 29, 2019, print edition of National Review.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners




After Harvey Mansfield’s disinvitation from Concordia University, a professor writes in to NR to clarify. Plus, Fred Schwartz on baseball.
The Week

The Week

The Canadian newspaper the National Post reports, ‘Ancient life awakens amid thawing ice caps and permafrost.’ Good news for Joe Biden.

Girth Dearth

According to the Left, it is bad to stigmatize the mentally ill, but unless you have the proper opinions on social issues, you have a mental illness.


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