Book Review: The Secret Sharer

the secret sharerIt was the book cover that caught my attention. Having read Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Sharer” in high school and knowing that the secret passenger was a male, seeing an Asian woman on the cover just did not make sense.

Opening the book, I figured it out immediately. There were actually two stories in the book – the original Joseph Conrad novella and the script of the movie “The Secret Sharer” which is an adaptation of the original story with changes to make it contemporary.

For those who had read “The Secret Sharer” before, the story remains one of the most memorable coming of age story. The nameless captain of the ship who is also the narrator on his first even sea voyage as a captain learning the ropes from his “Other Self”, which in this context is the swimmer that the Captain saved without the knowledge of his crew.

  • The Secret Sharer

The movie “The Secret Sharer” written and directed by Peter Fudakowski and released in theaters on June 27, 2014 follows the same theme. But this time, there is a twist. The ship is now registered as Chinese. The captain remains British, but this time the crew is Chinese. And as already mentioned, the “secret passenger” is now a Chinese woman.

With these stark differences, the social dynamics changed. In the original Joseph Conrad story, there was male bonding going on between the Captain and the secret passenger, hence the Captain saw him as his “other self.”

In the movie, the secret passenger being a woman, the bonding is about trust and friendship between opposite sexes. There was also a matter of understanding different cultures and races, even the laws of the sea.

Two beautiful stories in one. And now that I’ve read the book, I hope that the movie comes to a theater in my hometown.