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Saturday, November 28, 2009

The death of J. D. Farrell

In this blog we have seen a plethora of tragic cases that freaque waves swiped victims from shore in all kinds of nearshore places, at all kinds of times of the day all around the world ocean. Today we add another victim that had happened 30 years ago to a well-known British novelist, James Gordon Farrell (1935-1979). In Wikipedia Farrell's death was described this way:
. . . In 1979 Farrell decided to quit London to take up residence on the Sheep's Head
peninsula in southwestern Ireland. A few months later he drowned in Bantry Bay, apparently while angling.
In an article discussing a new book on JG Farrell's works, writer Brian Lynch provided some details on Farrell's death in the Independent.ie today:

Thirty years ago, in August 1979, 15 people died during a terrible storm that struck the Fastnet yacht race. The former British prime minister Ted Heath, a keen sailor and a participant in the race, very nearly died too. On the same day, but in relatively calm conditions, a man fishing on the rocks at Kilcrohane in Cork was swept away by a freak wave and drowned. Onlookers say that the man did not struggle in the water but seemed to accept his fate calmly.

This strangely unforgettable death was suffered by the then 44-year-old James Gordon Farrell, the author of three novels, . . .
Clearly 1979 was many years before "freaque wave" had become a popular media concept in connection with describing those drowning tragedies. But Lynch's new sketch on the historical case certainly makes sense -- at least not surprising from this blog's point of view. Lynch, a poet himself, described the last moment of Farrell rather poetically as "accept his fate calmly". How does a victim accept his or her fate when they known that they have become an inevitable victim anyway? We have been convinced that onshore freaque waves can happen any time at any place all around. Other than some Coastguard groups' perfunctory warnings, no one can predict or prevent it's happening. No one is even try to do any realistic study or measurement at the present. May be fate is the operating word here, since science certainly has not been able to do anything meaningful yet!

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