The story takes place in the summer of 1931, on board a cruise ship bound for Bremerhaven, Germany.
The passenger list is long and portentous, and includes a Spanish noblewoman, a drunken German lawyer, an American divorcee, a pair of Mexican Catholic priests, and a host of others.
This "ship of fools" is a crucible of intense experience, out of which everyone emerges forever changed.
Rich in incident, passion, and treachery, the novel explores themes of nationalism, cultural and ethnic pride, and basic human frailty that are as relevant now as they were when the novel first appeared in 1962.
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