The Waterman: A Novel of the Chesapeake Bay by Tim Junkin
Set along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, this first novel tells the story of Clay Wakeman, who spent his boyhood on the water and finds he can't leave it. When his father is lost in a storm off the Eastern Shore, Clay drops out of college to take possession of his father's boat and his work as a waterman, that is, as an independent commercial fisherman.
Since the old boat constitutes his sole inheritance, Clay starts out small. He recruits his oldest friend, Byron, a traumatized Vietnam vet, to join him in a crabbing business. Just as they're breaking even, Hurricane Agnes roars in to ruin the salinity of the eastern Bay waters. Agnes forces them across the Bay to set their crab traps along the Virginia shoreline and to move in with Matt and Kate, Clay's uppercrust friends from college.
It's in these unfamiliar waters that their real troubles begin. Clay falls irrevocably in love with the spoken-for Kate; Byron's demons pursue him with even greater vengeance; and out in the Bay the partners stumble onto a drug running operation. Lines are drawn by the dealers. And, at the very end, in a riveting boat chase, Clay comes very close to losing the battle . . . forever.
The Waterman: A Novel of the Chesapeake Bay 4.5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
What a find. This book's a reverie, a rhythmic poem to the fragile and beautiful Chesapeake estuary. Its people harbor that invisible connection, that bond with their land and water, with the cycles of the natural world, and this rare sensibility permeates the writing, comes through quietly and elegantly. The story is not without flaws, though. Occassionally the writing moves slow, the plot meanders, and the author dares to flout his genre, to end the book with raw realism that leaves an uncomfortable aftertaste. Yet it's a fine story, (a distinctive first novel), about the power of passion, of personal history, the heat of youth, and it turns suspenseful and thrilling as it spirals toward its dark finish. For those who still cherish the natural world, who appreciate how it enriches the spirit and enobles lives, and who enjoy hearing a new and enchanting voice, this shouldn't be missed.