Spartina

Spartina

2.3 6
by John Casey
     
 

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Winner of the 1989 National Book Award

A classic tale of a man, a boat, and a storm, Spartina is the lyrical and compassionate story of Dick Pierce, a commercial fisherman along the shores of Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay. A kind, sensitive, family man, he is also prone to irascible outbursts against the people he must work for, now that he can no

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Overview

Winner of the 1989 National Book Award

A classic tale of a man, a boat, and a storm, Spartina is the lyrical and compassionate story of Dick Pierce, a commercial fisherman along the shores of Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay. A kind, sensitive, family man, he is also prone to irascible outbursts against the people he must work for, now that he can no longer make his living from the sea.

Pierce's one great passion, a fifty-foot fishing boat called Spartina, lies unfinished in his back yard. Determined to get the funds he needs to buy her engine, he finds himself taking a foolish, dangerous risk. But his real test comes when he must weather a storm at sea in order to keep his dream alive. Moving and poetic, Spartina is a masterly story of one man's ongoing struggle to find his place in the world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his first novel since his 1978 debut with An American Romance , Casey uses a simple, unadorned narrative style to create an evocative character study. Dick Pierce is a Rhode Island fisherman who has managed to support his wife and two sons but has always found bigger and easier money just one step--a bank loan, a sponsor, a bigger boat--out of his reach. Instead, he works alone, and occasionally takes rich couples out for fishing runs, although he can barely tolerate their arrogance and dilettantish behavior. Taciturn and restless in his 40s, he grows inward, nursing grudges and regrets, until the unexpected occurs: an affair with Elsie, a bright young National Resources warden who alone has the power to draw out and challenge her lover. Gruff and relatively inexpressive, Pierce might be an impenetrable central character in the hands of a lesser writer, but Casey's skills as a portraitist are considerable; he captures just enough of Pierce's private moments and lonely fears to make him touching and believable. (June)
Library Journal
Rhode Island fisherman Dick Pierce's neighbors are mostly rich city people vacationing in luxury condos on land his family once owned. Pierce himself is chronically broke, and lately he has taken to poaching clams on state land in order to finance the Spartina , a 50-foot fishing boat he is building in a last-ditch effort to become his own boss. Elsie Buttrick, an officer of the Department of Natural Resources, suspects that Pierce is the poaching culprit, but in the course of her investigation they end up in bed together--something that Pierce has trouble concealing from his wife and kids. Casey's new novel, another addition to the recently revived genre of blue-collar fiction, reminds us that there is more to Rhode Island than the mansions of Newport. A well-crafted book that should have a strong regional appeal.-- Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch . Lib., Los Angeles

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375702686
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/28/1998
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
570,140
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.85(d)

What People are saying about this

Paul Theroux
"A wonderful novel...a tremendous achievement."

Meet the Author

John Casey is the author of The Half-life of Happiness, naow available in hardcover from Knopf.

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