Author: Mark Kurlansky
Title: The Last Fish Tale
Publication Info: Blackstone Audiobooks, Inc. (2008)
Mark Kurlansky, author of excellent books about Cod and Salt, takes on the unique fishing town of Gloucester, Massachusetts in this work. Kurlansky approaches Gloucester from all angles with a historical survey stretching back to colonial times (and earlier), cultural and sociological insights into Gloucester people, and every so often throws in a traditional seafood recipe for good measure. Kurlansky alternates between fish tales – adventures of exaggerated braggadocio – and Gloucester tales – peculiarly tragice stories of those who went down in ships.
Mostly though, this is a book about Gloucester’s life blood – the fisheries and the commercial fisherman who sail out into them. In fact, Kurlansky ventures far beyond Gloucester to Canada, Britain, and Europe to other fishing villages who essentially share the same ecosystem and suffer the same fate of fishing villages in a time of dwindling stocks, pollutions, and sometimes counterproductive government regulation. This is a fascinating and lively book and I really enjoyed a learning a bit about a town so close to home, yet so distinctly separate.
Recommended books: Trawler: A Journey Through the North Atlantic by Redmond O’Hanlon; Ptown: Art, Sex, and Money on the Outer Cape by Peter Manso; The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men against the Sea by Sebastian Junger