Another day and another passed of rough seas and lowering skies; of rolling and pitching, cold winds, and cold damp eating into bones softened by tropic warmth; of a treadmill of watches in a wheelhouse dank and gloomy by day and danker and gloomier by night; of sullen silent sailors and pale dog-tired officers, of meals in the wardroom eaten in silence, with the captain at the head of the table ceaselessly rolling the balls in his fingers and saying nothing except an infrequent grumpy sentence about the progress of the work requests. Willie lost track of time. He stumbled from the bridge to his coding, from coding to correcting publications, from corrections back up to the bridge, from the bridge to the table for an unappetizing bolted meal, from the table to the clipping shack for sleep which never went uninterrupted for more than a couple of hours. The world became narrowed to a wobbling iron shell on a waste of foamy gray, and the business of the world was staring out at empty water or making red-ink insertions in the devil's own endless library of mildewed unintelligible volumes.
That is great writing. You may be familiar with the film that came from this book but those players are vague and misty spectres compared to the flesh and blood that Wouk puts on the pages.