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Flaubert on an aircraft carrier

A new book by Geoff Dyer sets a nervous writer adrift with the US navy

By David Anderson  

“Huge and vital, aircraft carriers remain mysterious and unthought-of”

Boats, in literature, have tended to be disaster-zones. Infectious disease, mutiny, shipwreck; a locked-room drama on the high seas. They don’t fare much better in the movies. Robert Redford struggled to elude disaster recently in All Is Lost, his little brig colliding with an errant shipping container that might have fallen from Tom Hanks’s vessel, the Maersk Alabama, hijacked by Somali pirates in another recent hit, Captain Phillips. Hanks’s film presented a modern version of the solitary sailor: isolated on an…

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