Dogfish Memory: Sailing in Search of Old Maine by Joseph A. Dane, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Dogfish Memory: Sailing in Search of Old Maine

Dogfish Memory: Sailing in Search of Old Maine

by Joseph A. Dane
     
 

“An exquisite memoir about lost love and the sustaining grace of the sea.”—T.C. Boyle
The Maine dogfish are gone—fished to the brink of extinction. Gone too is Linda Jane, and with her the love and the subjunctive Maine that they might have shared. And what of that fabled “Old Maine”? Is it gone for good? Dogfish Memory is the

Overview

“An exquisite memoir about lost love and the sustaining grace of the sea.”—T.C. Boyle
The Maine dogfish are gone—fished to the brink of extinction. Gone too is Linda Jane, and with her the love and the subjunctive Maine that they might have shared. And what of that fabled “Old Maine”? Is it gone for good? Dogfish Memory is the story of the search for an authentic Maine, a Maine of the past, whether historical or simply imagined, and a Maine of the present, one experienced by both permanent residents and seasonal ones—summerfolk. Joseph Dane is both. He has worked on commercial fishing boats as a local and he has sailed the coast for years like those who are “from away.” Dogfish Memory tells the story of how his often conflicting Maines are intertwined. Authentic Maine is elusive; stories and even photographs of a past Maine often contradict the memories of those who have lived through the changes they record. Dogfish Memory is thus the story of loss, the loss of a Maine recalled and imagined, and the loss of the love with which Maine is irrevocably associated.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this meditative, unconventional memoir, Chaucer professor and Maine native Dane chronicles a lifetime of sailing his home coast. Dane's family has deep roots in the state, and he writes of his suspension between different versions of Maine—the place as it may be and the place as it's perceived by those who "play Maine," a group that includes summer people, tourists, and even salty fishermen. In his wide-ranging reminiscences, Dane examines the ties of family and friendship, time passing, and above all, "Linda Jane," his inclusive name for the lovers who have drifted in and out of his life. Dane doesn't write chronologically; each section begins with a particular memory or place, then moves forward or backward in time. This device has its risks—the currents are hard to follow at times. It also isn't immediately apparent that his "Linda Jane" is many women. However, Dane's approach offers unique perspectives. Many of the sections have a subtle intensity that elevates them to prose poems while the focus on sailing always anchors them. In discarding chronology, Dane is able to present life as we remember it. As he notes in one particularly cogent insight: "Imagined adventures... lead from known to known. Real adventure, by contrast, begins at a single point in the fog and ends at one." (June)
Carolyn Chute
“Dogfish Memory is not a ghost story but there are ghostly and foggy desires, epiphanies and yearnings wavering in and out of ordinary days. And Linda Jane? And the too glittering sunny sea and the sleepy nighttime harbor’s radio voices seeming to come from other galaxies? Okay then, there are ghosts. A memoir like none other.”
Howard Frank Mosher
“In its honesty, focus on family, and lyricism, Dogfish Memory reminds me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and A River Runs Through It. And its unforgettable heroine, Linda Jane, is a true American original.”
T. C. Boyle
“An exquisite memoir about lost love and the sustaining grace of the sea.”
Seth Lerer
“Part Maine memoir, part personal reflection, the book beautifully weaves together the geography of the New England coast with the contours of a life. …Yes, sailors will love this book. But to say it is a book about sailing is as accurate as saying that A River Runs Through It is a book about fly fishing. Both of these books are about human love and longing, both are about family and friendship. What Norman Maclean did for Montana, Joseph Dane has done for Maine, for he has scripted out the story of a lifetime lived on water.”
Franklin Burroughs
“Dogfish Memory combines memoir, elegy, quest narrative, sailing chronicle, and love story, and is held together by a remarkable voice—taut, frequently sardonic, precise, and utterly merciless towards all pretensions, all comforting illusions. It is a beautiful and moving book, propelled and obstructed by its emotional intensity, on the one hand, and its unrelenting, self-deflating intelligence on the other. I found myself thinking of W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn: not in its subject matter, but in its compelling inconsolability. But real books by real writers are sui generis, and this is a real book by a real writer.”
Percival Everett
“This book by Joseph Dane is what memoir should be. It is open, free, smart, and contemplative (without being philosophical). It is about sailing, yes, but it is also about time, about several places and one place, about the nature of metaphor and the limits of it. This is a superb work. (I would sail with this Dane fellow, but I would not let him choose a girlfriend for me.)”
Aimee Bender
“A beautifully written account of sailing, and love, and geography, and memory—told in prose as clear and open as water itself.”
Chris Bohjalian
…a poignant, wistful and complex book that's as much about memory as it is about Maine…It is, in the end, a deeply moving book.
—The Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780881509557
Publisher:
Countryman Press, The
Publication date:
06/06/2011
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Joseph A. Dane is a native of Maine who, despite being a professor of English at the University of Southern California, returns to his family property in Maine to spend summers sailing the coastline. He divides his time between Los Angeles, CA, and Harpswell, ME.

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