Transit Lounge, $29.95 hb, 224 pp, 9781921924774
Patrick Holland’s Navigatio tells the story of Saint Brendan, a monk in early-Christian Ireland who embarks on a sea-bound pilgrimage. The religious nature of this premise offers Holland a degree of freedom from historical realism, and the oceanic regions explored by Brendan are thereby conceived as a realm of mythic and apocalyptic imagination. Brendan’s own pious heroism appears to be modelled on figures of classical mythology, as well as on the invincible heroes of Christian epic literature. The perils he faces are a fascinating blend of pagan and Christian lore, combined with a blurring of dream and reality that is facilitated through Holland’s distinctive style.