Novel Review : Pirate Latitudes
Michael Crichton is one of those writers who I have a great deal of respect for simply for the diversity of his accomplishments, in the field of prose as well as in television and film. As of this writing he is still the only author to have the # 1 novel, film, and television show at a single moment in time. Speaking purely on a level of pop-culture impact, only Steven King seems to measure up.
How fitting then that his final novel be one of his best. If nothing else, he knows how to exit with a bit of flair. “Pirate Latitudes” is probably the most streamlined and accessible prose Crichton ever produced. Eschewing the dense narrative styling of his most recognizable works, he presents a vivid world with a tried-and-true formula populated and constructed by a mind honed by numerous years of experience in forming over-arching narratives.
I don’t think that Crichton expected this to be his final novel. I’m sure if he knew that he only had one last book in him, he would have produced something with his usual hallmarks, expanding on what he picked up over the course of his career. Instead we get a novel that I’m sure was something Crichton wrote because it interested him, or he enjoyed playing with the characters. It’s not high literature; it’s more like an author writing for the sake of telling a story that he felt someone might enjoy, and I think the book takes on life because of it.
I don’t doubt that I’ll revisit this one. Much like I have with Jurassic Park or Congo or Rising Sun. And that may very well be just what he was hoping for.