The Wonderful Boat by Gosta Larsson ; Illustrated by Bernard Case
New York : Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1957. First American Edition. Hardcover. 219 pages ; illustrated ; 21 cm. $3.00 dust jacket with minimal wear. Gift inscription on flyleaf. A touch of foxing to pages edge. Storage odor within pages. No other markings elsewhere in book. Binding sound.
The Wonderful Boat
By GOSTA LARSSON Illustrated by Bernard Case
To Leif, the troubled adolescent, a boat and a pair of long oars brought release from his growing pains.
The boat was a dilapidated little skiff purchased from an old "waterfront pirate" for five dollars, but Leif and his two best friends worked all spring patching it up. Then they painted it a glistening white— with its new name Forward in gold letters— and transformed it into a gleaming little beauty. And when Nils, the handsome young coast guardsman, loaned the boys a pair of long oars, Leif's happiness was complete.
Leif loved these oars, loved the sense of mastery they gave him as he drove the boat forward across the waves. They made him feel that he could do big things—like the famous explorer, Leif Ericson, he had been named for. But one unforgettable night he confused foolhardiness with courage, and so risked his life and his beloved boat in a daredevil test.
The author grew up in Malmo, a large Swedish seaport, and "The Wonderful Boat" is based upon a true episode. But since boys and boats and waterfronts are much the same the world over, all teenagers will see a little of themselves in this story of a boy who comes through a critical stage of adolescence and discovers gradually what it means to be a skipper.
At the age of eleven, GOSTA LARSSON already knew he wanted to be a writer, a maker of songs like the old heroic Norse ballads his mother liked to sing. But the family's poverty made it necessary for him to leave school. He worked for a while in shipyards, then ran away to sea, but returned to work in more shipyards. He went to night school, was awarded a scholarship in engineering and graduated as a civil engineer—his specialty, bridge building.
After an adventurous year or two in South Africa he came to America, which had always been the land of his dreams. In New York City he worked for a short time as an engineer but he couldn't give up his hope of becoming a writer. So one day he tossed his T-square out of the window, deciding to devote himself to mastering English and acquiring a liberal education. Meanwhile he supported himself with what odd jobs he could, as a longshoreman, a model, a movie extra, a scenario writer. But his long uphill struggle to become a writer WAS the greatest adventure in his adventure-packed life.
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