Advance Praise

“Part odyssey, part ancestral mystery and part sea shanty, all brilliantly entwined and soaked in Greek myth. Mercy's journey over sea and shore and through extraordinary family history is a remarkable tale, both epic and intimate. The Rathbones itself feels as though it was loom-woven or carved in whalebone. Beautifully crafted and elegantly told. A siren song of a story.”
—Erin Morgenstern, bestselling author of The Night Circus

 

The Rathbones is the most sui generis debut you’re likely to encounter this year. Think Moby-Dick directed by David Lynch from a screenplay by Gabriel Garcia Marquez…with Charles Addams doing the set design and The Decembrists supplying the chanteys. Clark writes a beautiful prose line, and the story, like the ocean, gets deeper, richer, and stranger the farther out you go.”
—The Millions; Featured in “Most Anticipated: The Great Second Half  for 2013”

 

“A teenager comes of age and grapples with the heavy burdens of family secrets against the backdrop of the 19th Century New England whaling industry in this beautifully written, playful and intricate debut novel.  Clark creates evocative descriptions . . . making her images and encounters between people especially vivid.” Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

 

“Drawing on Edgar Allan Poe, Homer and Herman Melville, an ambitious saga of lineage and whaling … Simultaneously mythic, gothic and whimsical … Clark imagines a rich hinterland to her briny story … [and] seduces with her vision and prose.”        —Kirkus Reviews

 

“Dark and beautifully written, Janice Clark’s journey into family history captures the salty bonds of blood and sea, with all that lies beneath: from long held secrets to a broken covenant with the whale.  As cautionary a tale as Melville’s, this is nevertheless a woman’s odyssey, one that creates a kind of longing that lingers far beyond its final pages. I’m telling everyone I know to read this one.” 
 —Brunonia Barry, bestselling author of The Lace Reader

 

“Full of longing and desire, The Rathbones is a wonder. Janice Clark has written a new chapter of American myth and family legend, an epic tale of adventure-of men who go off to sea and the women who wait for them until they can wait no longer. Mercy Rathbone, the 15-year-old girl whose odyssey is at the story's core, is a brilliant creation, who will haunt your memory long after you turn the final page.”
—Keith Donohue, New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Child


"The Rathbones is a gorgeous, gothic tale of a seafaring family and their dark secrets, passed through generations.  Reminiscent of Melville, Janice Clark’s writing is inventive and astonishing in its sensuousness and attention to historic details."
—Kathleen Kent, bestselling author of The Heretic’s Daughter

 

“If Faulkner's Snopes family from Yoknapatawpha County had gone to sea, they might have become the Rathbones: generations of men whose impossible goal was to tame the ocean and slay its leviathans -- but whose story, in the end, could only be told by a woman.  Janice Clark has fit the whole world into this beautiful and capacious book, proving that it's not only life that came from the sea, but language and love as well.”
—Daniel Wallace, bestselling author of Big Fish and The Kings and Queens of Roam