ISBN: 9789197812399 Global Overview for this book
3 journalers for this copy...
In Seamen's Wives Lennart Johnsson und Leif Hansson, the photographer, provide a woman's eye view of a mainly male industry. Seamen's wives, mostly from the Philippines, talk about their lives today. These women descirbe a life that is filled with responsibility for their family's economy, home and children., but also a life of loneliness, worry and longing for the men who sail on ships that are often thaousands of kilometres from the Philippines. There are also flashbacks to the daily life of Swedish seamen's wives 40-50 years ago.
Lennart Johnsson has previously written several books about the situation in the Philippines, such as Human beeings as commodities, Philippine daily life, from play school to politics and Philippines - Heaven or Hell?. His other writings include Funny Flags, Antwerp sailor and Union on the seven seas and he has contributed to several anthologies.
Leif Hansson has worked as a photographer for more than 30 years, and has been active in all parts of the world. During his journeys, he has visited and documented life in over 100 countries. In recent years, he has done documentary journeys to Haiti, Thailand and Croatia.
Breakwater Publishing, paperback, 145 pages
Heard (or better read) about this book in a seamen's magazine from the German workers union and decided to order one (ahem, two) books in Sweden were it is published in English and Swedish language. Here now of course the English version ;)
I've read it meanwhile.
Maybe I have to explain, why I became interested in this book:
I work myself on board (as nautical watch officer) and since I changed the company I work also together with Filipino seamen. Last year I visited Philippines for the first (but surely not the last) time and met also some collegues and their wifes.
I work for a German company with container vessels which sail under German, Liberian and Marshall Islands flags. The book is dealing with seamen at Swedish vessels ... so there are some small differences to be found ... but also much in common.
This book really helped to understand my collegues better. And as I bought two of those books I surely will "forget" the other on on board of my next vessel.
The book is not very thick and it was read quite fast (less than an evening).
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
It was not exactly what I had imagined after reading the first JE, though; I expected it to contain more meta and analysis and less interview transcriptions. Despite the fact, that, of course, each voice of the interviewed persons is interesting and important in itself, I found the way these interviews were presented a bit tedious and reiteratively, and it took me quite some time to plough my way through.
Still, I wouldn't have wanted to miss reading it. My main interest was ignited not only by my interest about all things naval, but also by having, since my teenage day, a Chinese penpal from Malaysia who is also a seamen's wife. Her husband is a marine engineer, and from her letters and tales (we met some years back) I have heard about her life's pecularities often enough.
The book will travel on as soon as I know where it's going to go and have an address.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Thanks for the extras, German BCers!
The small details of the lives of ordinary people were made fascinating by Johnsson's simple straightforward narrative and Hansson's marvelous high-quality color photographs.
It wasn't very well translated by Andrew Lovell: many grammatical errors, repetitions, and typos -- but somehow that added to the immediacy of the stories.
Interesting the prevalence of raising gamecocks as supplemental income. I'd have liked more detail about the sari-sari stores many of the women operated to increase their cashflow. It was impressive that the families kept good education for their children and helping needy relatives high on their list of priorities.
The book's progression was very well done. There were a dozen or so similar stories, and almost at the end a lengthy and startling account of Manuel and his fearful accident during a storm. Then the two Swedish women, Gunbritt and Lisa, tied everything together with their perspectives.
I noticed in the sponsor pages (which featured photographs of the Swedish ships and their crews) that all the seamen seemed to be having tons of fun on board!
This has been one of the best bookray experiences ever for me. Thanks so much for offering it. Plans are to visit the post office and mail it to the Philippines sometime between tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday.
I might take it to Norfolk in March and release it in a place where seamen can be found ...
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