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The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island by Linda Greenlaw

 

Rating: (Recommended)

 

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Gripping

I can’t opine how good a fisherman Linda Greenlaw is, but she’s a fine writer, as shown in her latest book, The Lobster Chronicles. Greenlaw not only takes readers inside life as a lobster catcher, but explores with us the way of life in a small island community, including interactions with near and distant relations, neighbors and outsiders. Consistently, Greenlaw finds an insight, perspective or anecdote that captures something about human nature that leaves a reader smiling, nodding or just plain understanding.

Here’s an excerpt from the chapter titled “The First Casualty:”

“Waking before dawn, I was disoriented. I was unsure of where I was and my heart pounded rapidly. Around me was silence. Perhaps the engines had died while I slept, and the boat had been drifting aimlessly. What if the batteries had been drained so dry that they would not turn the starters over? How long had I been asleep? Where was I? Slowly my eyes adjusted to the lack of light, and gray blobs took shape and came into focus. I was relieved to know that I was not aboard a boat and would not spend the day kneeling in the engine room bilge, turning wrenches and tearing knuckles in shadows cast by a flashlight held by a nervous crew member. Climbing out from under the quilt, I sat on the edge of the bed in my parents’ house and willed my blood pressure back down to normal.
I wondered what exactly had scared me. I concentrated, but failed to bring back whatever I had been dreaming about. Fear, in this case, had something in common with a second cousin twice removed; there was a connection there somewhere, but it was twisted and convoluted. My nightshirt was stuck to my back. I had been sweating. What a nightmare.
I have never understood why some things scare me while others don’t. I had spent all of my adult life engaged in the world’s most dangerous profession, commercial fishing, but never feared the inherent, well-known physical danger. My gravest concern when leaving the dock had always been that I would catch nothing, not that I might never return. When I first made the decision to go offshore, I was more frightened about what my mother’s reaction would be to my career choice than I had ever been of perishing at sea. And as I vividly recalled that twenty-year-old scenario, my mother did not disappoint me.”

If you didn’t get to Maine this summer, go ahead and take a virtual visit by reading The Lobster Chronicles.

Steve Hopkins, August 14, 2002

 

ă 2002 Hopkins and Company, LLC

 

The recommendation rating for this book appeared in the September 2002 issue of Executive Times

 

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