03 April 2012

Today's Imprint Read: When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man by Nick Dybek

What would it be like to grow up without your father for half the year and to spend all those months wondering if you'd ever see him again? No, Cal Bollings's parents are not separated; his father is a crab boat captain who spends the winter battling ice, ocean, and wind to fill the hold with a big enough catch to bring in a decent income. Henry may be captain, but his boat is owned by John Gaunt, the man who holds the livelihood and destiny of the entire town in his hands.

Now suppose John dies and his son has no wish to be in the crabbing business. Teenage Cal didn't have to wonder what would happen, he saw firsthand what desperation can do to otherwise decent men.

Loyalty Island was the stink of herring, nickel paint, and kelp rotting on moorings and beaches. The smell of green pine needles browning across the ground. It was the rumble of outboards, wind, and ice machines, and the whine of hydraulic blocks. It was gray light that flooded and ebbed at dawn and dusk.

It was the habit of loneliness. We spent our time watching calendars, waiting for the chaos that came when the radios crackled and the the phones rang and the tires kicked dust in the parking lots around Greene Harbor. We searched the horizon for returning fishermen, who arrived shaggy and greasy, telling their stories but not their secrets. (p. 3)
When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man, by Nick Dybek (Riverhead Books 2012; quote is from uncorrected proofs)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: coast of Washington State, fishing village, late 1980s
  • Circumstances: men intent on maintaining the staus quo in the face of change
  • Characters: the Bollings, the Gaunts, the townsfolk, and crabbers
  • Main themes: fathers and son, morality, loyalty, family
  • Genres: coming-of-age, thriller, nod to Treasure Island
  • Publication date: April 12
Want to Know More? Nick Dybek spoke with Granta Magazine about his debut novel, fathers and sons, Treasure Island and more. Prefer to listen? Check out Authorlink's audio interview. To learn more about Dybek, visit his website, follow him on Twitter, and like his Facebook page. The publisher's website offers information about Dybek's book tour and a short essay by the author about writing a first novel. For more Riverhead Books and for news about events and great books, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.


Sheila (Bookjourney) 4/3/12, 6:32 AM  

Good morning. This title caught my eye on Facebook. Thanks for the links, I am going to see what this might be like on audio.

bermudaonion 4/3/12, 7:33 AM  

Oh my, that sounds like a page turner!

Jenn's Bookshelves 4/3/12, 8:29 AM  

This book is in my upcoming review pile. I cannot wait to get to it!

Carrie K. 4/3/12, 9:42 AM  

This sounds fantastic - especially as it's set in the area I grew up in.

Irish 4/3/12, 10:18 AM  

This doesn't sound like a book for me but I do love how visual the teaser is.

Zibilee 4/3/12, 10:35 AM  

I also really like the evocative nature of that teaser, and think that this book sounds rather interesting. I can't imagine living a life that way, and think it would be interesting to explore what it is like vicariously. Very cool post today.

Belle Wong 4/3/12, 10:49 AM  

Sounds like an interesting read!

Jennifer | Mrs Q Book Addict 4/3/12, 11:16 AM  

This one is new to me, and I really like the sound of it. Many fishermen leave their families behind for months, and the job is very dangerous. I'll have to add this one to my wish list.

Heather 4/3/12, 12:58 PM  

What a great descriptive passage! I hope you enjoy(ed) this one. My teaser: Twin Killing

Alice Audrey 4/3/12, 1:12 PM  

Oh great. Now I'm going to be imagining that smell all day.

Great teaser.

Nise' 4/3/12, 1:40 PM  

This one sounds interesting. My Uncle worked on a fishing boat in Alaska years ago and we were nervous until he came home safe.

Julie P. 4/3/12, 8:26 PM  

I'm not sure I was drawn to this one, but it could be good. I'd be willing to give it a chance.

Shelley Munro 4/3/12, 9:44 PM  

This sounds fascinating and reminds me of the reality show featuring the crab fishers.

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