New York Times Book Review
Greenlaw is a terrific spinner of sea stories.
All fishermen may be liars, but few of them can spin a tale the way Greenlaw does.
Boisterous nostalgia and Atlantic Ocean enlightenment . . . Greenlaw . . . makes an honorary crew member out of anyone who cracks open her book.
. . . Greenlaw's love for fishing and the sea invigorates her prose. Her beautifully compelling description of life at sea is . . . irresistible . . .
Greenlaw is a rare and welcome voice in the maritime world.
Rocky Mountain News
. . . Greenlaw's self-effacing honesty, if you can believe a fisherman, is endearing, amusing, excruciating and awe-inspiring.
The genesis of this lively collection of "absolutely true sea stories" is Greenlaw's (Lobster Chronicles) remembrance of an afternoon and evening spent with her crusty old friend Alden in a bar in Portland, Maine, trading tales about fishing and adventures at sea. Greenlaw, who makes her living as a commercial fisher, includes among the stories an account of how she nearly lost a boatload of 500 lobster traps the day she ignored the weatherman's storm warnings; the saga of being adrift at sea on a disabled fishing boat with a captain who was too cheap to pay for a tow; and a yarn about her chance meeting with a legendary dope-smuggling captain on the lam in the Caribbean. She also tells other people's stories, such as one about a fisherman who was forced to abandon his ship and managed to survive a night in the water during a hurricane. Alden chimes in with memories of the worst storm of his 40 years of commercial fishing. Two barflies join them. One tells of the young captain of a sightseeing vessel who almost lost the boat and 150 passengers during a storm, and the other contributes a whopper about landing a 200-pound tuna using rock-and-roll music as the lure. The stories are separated by short anecdotes about fishermen; Greenlaw calls these "bar snacks." At the end of the night, a woman of dubious character known as "the Madam" joins the group and declares, "All fishermen are liars." Greenlaw leaves it up to the reader to decide how much is truth and how much is exaggeration. Either way, the stories are all very entertaining. Agent, Stuart Krichevsky. (July) Forecast: Greenlaw has experienced great success with her two previous books, The Hungry Ocean and Lobster Chronicles, and this title should garner similar attention. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This series of stories grows out of an afternoon, stretching into an evening, that Greenlaw spent with her longtime friend Alden Leeman at the Dry Dock, a heavily frequented drinking spot for fisher folk in Portland, ME. Leeman was the captain of the author's first fishing trip. From Greenlaw's recollections about steering a ship through a hellacious storm, Leeman counters with one of his own stories. Throughout the day they are joined by other fishers who add their own yarns and tales of prowess. Greenlaw's reading is perfect for these salty tales; her voice rings with the authenticity she brings as the first female swordship captain and peer of the guys at the Dry Dock. While All Fishermen Are Liars is not as riveting as her previous books (The Hungry Ocean and The Lobster Chronicles), Greenlaw's fans will still enjoy a few tall tales among friends. Recommended for public libraries.-Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
One of their own takes us along for an enjoyable evening saloon-side in the company of small-scale commercial fishermen and their tales, tall and true. After two memoirs of her life at sea (The Lobster Chronicles, 2002, etc.), the author writes, "I am sick to death of Linda Greenlaw," so these stories take her out of herself and into the words of other fishermen from her base in Portland, Maine. Greenlaw goes to the bar to encourage an older friend of hers to retire, but as one fisherman after another enters the establishment, the evening gravitates toward sea stories. "Fishermen lie to protect their livelihood and pride, but also purely in the interests of entertainment," the author notes, yet none of these remembrances of bad days at sea feel overwrought. The bread-and-butter stories chronicle hellacious weather, falls into the water that lead to sojourns on abandoned islands, clandestine runs with marijuana rather than swordfish in the hold, bad catches, and bad crews. Winds are so strong they bend glass, presentiments save some lives and destroy others, tantalizing paychecks make fools of veterans. All fishermen may be liars, but these stories are spun out with such ease that you'd need tweezers to lift out the malarkey embedded in otherwise true material. And they're spun at full, leisurely length, which gives the proceedings their proper tone of foreboding. Greenlaw draws an impressive picture of the independent fisherman's world, with all its hard choices: for instance, do you cut loose a piece of equipment that is compromising a boat's safety, even though its cost equals the potential salary of the entire crew? In the end, it's easy to see that fishing is not simply what thesepeople do, but what they are. A crackling collection of fishing yarns. Agent: Stuart Krichevsky
Read an Excerpt
"'Oh big deal. Twelve hours? Try that routine for three days. Your boat is like the Queen Elizabeth compared to what I used to put to sea in. You've been spoiled. Why, I remember a time when...' And in the truest one-upmanship fashion, my friend painted a picture that made my horror story look like a kid's cartoon. I could feel the ladies who were playing bridge stop their game and perch on the edge of their chairs behind me. The Island Boys had spun around on their bar stools and were leaning toward our table. The suit-and-ties ordered more coffee, and the islanders knew there would be later ferries toward home. Everyone loves a sea story. No one tells one quite like Alden."