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Posted February 20, 2013
A literary review of Spike Walker¿s ¿Nights of Ice¿ Walker¿s
A literary review of Spike Walker’s “Nights of Ice”Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Walker’s “Nights of Ice” is a compilation of eight nonfiction, or better yet, “True Stories of Disaster and Survival on Alaska’s High Seas.”
(Cover). Each of these stories follow the formal structural arrangement with occasional flash backs mostly to improve upon the minute
by minute details of each story. Each story tells the tale of a doomed commercial fishing vessel engaged in commercial fishing operations
on the deadly high seas of the Gulf of Alaska when a sudden, deadly storm kicks up. The deadly storm combined with other unforeseen
factors; human errors, mechanical failures or just sheer coincidence results in a deadly situation.
In the introduction to the tales of survival, the author does a great job in his exposition of these tales; detailing the ins and outs of the
commercial fishing industry in Alaska and the men and women who continue to put their lives in the hands of Mother Nature to decide
their fate for the monumental payouts. Additionally, each story continues to provide more detail specifically to vessels, the
environment/weather and most importantly the individuals involved. Following the exposition and leading into the other formal categories
of structure, the complication ascends slowly, easing into the crisis of each story without dramatizing or creating too much tension for the
reader. Most begin with a nasty storm which is a very common occurrence for the Gulf of Alaska. Take note, this is not the crisis of these
stories. This is a common daily occurrence for Alaskan fishermen and is considered the norm. These vessels are designed and built to
withstand most of these storms under the control of an experienced master/captain/skipper.
The crisis and climax, on the other hand, are quite abrupt and often catastrophic as most of these stories end in total disaster; for the
vessel and some, if not all of her crew, though some do end in salvage of the vessel and/or survival of her crew. None the less, there is
a very fine line between crisis and climax in these stories. Interestingly enough, each story contains multiple events of crisis. The crisis
for each of these stories consists of: the material or mechanical failure of the vessel or her equipment, the crew’s abilities or injuries and
each individuals crew member’s decision for survival; trust and stay with the other crew members, stay with the vessel or fend for
themselves. During the crisis and climax of these stories, the author uses the occasional flash-back. The purpose is to preserve the
details of each story and to organize the sequence of events. This way, the reader knows and understands each factor or step leading to
the conclusion of the ordeal. Moving on to the climax, these stories are very similar in that the vessel is either going down or beached
hard on the rocks. Neither a very good situation. The conclusion of each of these stories contains some sort of tragic event. Most of the
time the vessel is lost completely and a crew member is either injured or lost altogether and sometimes the entire crew is sent to their
watery grave at the depths of the ocean and never recovered.
Walker, Spike. (1997). Nights of Ice: Stories of Disaster and Survival on Alaska’s High Seas. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.
Posted June 1, 2011
Nights of Ice is a really well written book that you will not regret reading. It shows you just how fast something can go wrong when you're fishing on the sea. It has a bunch of different true Alaskan stories where boats start taking on water how fast you have to react. I don't think people realize how fast something can go wrong and how short of time you can survive in the ocean. Makes you realize just how many people have lost their lives at sea.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.