The Pequod Review:
Robert Stone’s fifth novel is primarily the story of three people: Owen Browne (a copywriter and amateur sailor, who unwisely decides to enter an around-the-world solo race), his wife Anne (attractive but untrustworthy), and Ron Strickland (a cynical documentary filmmaker who has been hired by Browne’s firm to make a movie about the race). The narrative is focused and intense — this is in many ways the most action-oriented book of Stone’s career — and he uses the story to explore the growing commercial pressures in American society: the sorting of people into financial winners and losers, corruption in modern American businesses, and even the ways that finding purpose and meaning in life must be channeled through the marketplace. The book is more flawed than its predecessors; it is sometimes too transparently allegorical, and the character of Owen is not always persuasively drawn (the world of white-collar work, sailboats, and mortgages is not one Stone knows well). But it is haunting modern American story nonetheless, and with some of Stone’s strongest prose.