...Marshwrack makes for a good, quick read. It is racy and visible. The reader can actually feel the sea spray and smell the tangy air while the scenes unfold, all the while sitting on the sidelines...
Marshwrack, by Mark Raney. Paperback, 6” x 0.4” x 9 ".
Publisher: Mark Raney. Publication Date March 14, 2010. 168 pages, ISBN-10: 0578021366; ISBN-13: 978-0578021362. Price $19.00
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The detritus of the ocean has nowhere else to go but to be washed ashore when the tide comes in. This is elementary. The title of Mark Raney’s narrative of the commercial fishing community from the East Cast of America says it all. That despite commercial fishing being a family run, generation to generation hand me down affair, there is the lodestone of fate, of inevitability, of prescience, of doom that hangs large over this community unerringly.
Marsh wrack is a journal of a young acolyte who takes off from the fold to strike out on his own on similar but distant waters, faces the déjà vu, the redundancy, monotony, gloom, hope, success, all in turns and finally the inevitable tryst with death, all in a short span of time. The narrative cruises through this account with ease and rancour. The Americanism is unmistakeable, the pen-picture perfect and the poignancy of the short lived life conveyed unerringly. Beginning rather intriguingly, tracing genealogies and delving into the etymology of names it conveys in a trice the bonds that such subsistence communities strike and strive on. There is also the fleeting mention of environmental issues, the Greenpeace movement and conservation concerns which contemporises the narrative.
Echoes of the classic sea sagas, on the lines of Moby Dick and The Old Man and the Sea notwithstanding, Marshwrack makes for a good, quick read. It is racy and visible. The reader can actually feel the sea spray and smell the tangy air while the scenes unfold, all the while sitting on the sidelines.
Dhanalakshmi Ayyer is on reviewer panel of Anil Aggrawal's internet journal of book reviews. She can be contacted by email by Clicking here
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