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Calm At Sunset, Calm At Dawn
     

Calm At Sunset, Calm At Dawn

5.0 1
by Paul Watkins
 

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Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn is a coming-of-age novel of ample beauty, insight, and intensity. Defying the wishes of his family, James Pfeiffer--twenty years old and newly expelled from college--heeds the call of the open waters off the Rhode Island coast. Joining the crew of a broken-down scallop trawler, James seeks to learn the ways of fishermen like his

Overview

Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn is a coming-of-age novel of ample beauty, insight, and intensity. Defying the wishes of his family, James Pfeiffer--twenty years old and newly expelled from college--heeds the call of the open waters off the Rhode Island coast. Joining the crew of a broken-down scallop trawler, James seeks to learn the ways of fishermen like his father. Through endless days of exhausting labor in the company of dangerous men, James learns shockingly brutal and unexpectedly sobering lessons. But as James discovers the secrets of his motley crewmembers, he realizes that every fisherman has his own reasons to love the sea, in all its promise and treachery.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The raw elegance of human experience itself . . . Dazzlingly rendered . . . Watkins is an author whose work should be read with great respect.” —Carolyn See, Los Angeles Times

“Intense and precise . . . First-rate . . . A book that will have a value and appeal for more than sea-story lovers. It is written out of acute feeling and experience, in the voice of an artful storyteller.” —John Casey, Chicago Tribune

“Masterly . . . Follows in the tradition of John Steinbeck . . . The work of a young writer who is a force to be reckoned with.” —Christian Science Monitor

Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn is no romantic novel of crusty, taciturn fishermen with hearts of gold. The work is backbreaking and the sea merciless . . . Watkins is a good writer, and the evidence is everywhere on each page.” —David Nicholson, The Washington Post Book World

“Paul Watkins has a fine ear . . . The scenes of shipboard life and the hardships suffered there are especially vivid, and the writing is lyrical without being strained.” —Jack Flam, The Wall Street Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sharks are not the only peril faced by James Pfeiffer, age 20, as he works on a scallop trawler off the Rhode Island coast. Treacherous accidents and the risk of drug-running operations cloud the waters; the sting of losing his girlfriend adds bite to the salt air. Watkins, whose critically praised first novel, Night over Day over Night , was published when he himself was his hero's age (he is now 24), has worked on the ships he writes about, and his seafaring adventure is also a coming-of-age novel. James's mixture of love and contempt for his fisherman father Russ, coupled with Russ's fierce desire to see his son make something better of himself, drives the story. Among the crew members are an ex-Green Beret with psychotic tendencies and a hard-drinking former lumberjack. Watkins's spare, whittled-down prose does not buoy up the action, but readers will savor the realistic evocations of life at sea and the portrayal of a particular maritime subculture. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This novel of a young man's indoctrination into his fisherman father's way of life is engaging, believable, and unromantic. So genuine are the events and dialogue that the book's flaws--melodramatic lines muttered as the father wakes from nightmares, the hero's tritely rendered entrepreneur brother, the occasional telegraphing of events intended to surprise--stand out in stark relief. Still, there are plenty of moments--most particularly, the moving ending, plausible yet startling--that evince Watkins's skill with plot. His greatest skill, however, is his outstanding descriptive power: Some of the images, including a barnacle-encrusted corpse and a crewman gravely injured by the dredge cables, are unforgettable. Readers who know the docks of the Atlantic fisheries will instantly recognize the rugged fishermen and rusted vessels Watkins depicts. Don't look for profundity here, but expect a good read.-- Frank Pisano, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312154189
Publisher:
Picador
Publication date:
10/01/1996
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.61(d)

Meet the Author

Paul Watkins is the author of six books, including Night Over Day Over Night, which was published when he was twenty-three and was nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize. Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn was awarded Britain's Encore prize for best second novel. Archangel, his sixth book, is published by Picador. Watkins teaches and lives with his family in Princeton, New Jersey.

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Calm At Sunset, Calm At Dawn 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The narrative is sparse yet graceful. Watkins writes with such realism, humor, and honesty that the story is irresistible to the reader. And his ability to create scenes of tradedy and horror is unparalleled among novelists of his generation.