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Dogfish Memory: Sailing in Search of Old Maine: A Memoir Hardcover – June 6, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Countryman Press; 1 edition (June 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881509558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881509557
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,620,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Dogfish Memory is not a ghost story but there are ghostly and foggy desires, epiphanies and yearnings wavering in and out of ordinary days. And Linda Jane? And the too glittering sunny sea and the sleepy nighttime harbor’s radio voices seeming to come from other galaxies? Okay then, there are ghosts. A memoir like none other.” (Carolyn Chute, author of The Beans of Egypt, Maine)

“In its honesty, focus on family, and lyricism, Dogfish Memory reminds me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and A River Runs Through It. And its unforgettable heroine, Linda Jane, is a true American original.” (Howard Frank Mosher, author of Disappearances and Walking to Gaitlinburg)

“An exquisite memoir about lost love and the sustaining grace of the sea.” (T. C. Boyle, author of When the Killing’s Done)

“Part Maine memoir, part personal reflection, the book beautifully weaves together the geography of the New England coast with the contours of a life. …Yes, sailors will love this book. But to say it is a book about sailing is as accurate as saying that A River Runs Through It is a book about fly fishing. Both of these books are about human love and longing, both are about family and friendship. What Norman Maclean did for Montana, Joseph Dane has done for Maine, for he has scripted out the story of a lifetime lived on water.” (Seth Lerer, Dean of Arts and Humanities at UC San Diego)

Dogfish Memory combines memoir, elegy, quest narrative, sailing chronicle, and love story, and is held together by a remarkable voice—taut, frequently sardonic, precise, and utterly merciless towards all pretensions, all comforting illusions. It is a beautiful and moving book, propelled and obstructed by its emotional intensity, on the one hand, and its unrelenting, self-deflating intelligence on the other. I found myself thinking of W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn: not in its subject matter, but in its compelling inconsolability. But real books by real writers are sui generis, and this is a real book by a real writer.” (Franklin Burroughs, author of Billy Watson’s Croker Sack)

“This book by Joseph Dane is what memoir should be. It is open, free, smart, and contemplative (without being philosophical). It is about sailing, yes, but it is also about time, about several places and one place, about the nature of metaphor and the limits of it. This is a superb work. (I would sail with this Dane fellow, but I would not let him choose a girlfriend for me.)” (Percival Everett, author of Erasure and I Am Not Sidney )

“A beautifully written account of sailing, and love, and geography, and memory—told in prose as clear and open as water itself.” (Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake)

About the Author

Joseph A. Dane is a native of Maine who, despite being a professor of English at the University of Southern California, returns to his family property in Maine to spend summers sailing the coastline. He divides his time between Los Angeles, CA, and Harpswell, ME.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alex Zemlinsky on June 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book presents as a sort of travelogue of the Maine coast, but readers who have their sextants and star-charts handy might be disappointed to find that Dane is more concerned with navigating his own emotional landscapes. Now, this could very easily be boring. Memoir writers usually make the assumption that whatever they're talking about is fascinating, and this sort of misguided self-imporance carries them through longer than readers are able to put up with.

But not Dane. He carefully chooses tableaux from his life that not only have had a profound effect on him but carry with them a transcendent humanity which every reader can, to some extent, identify with and learn from. I have never been to the coast of Maine and the nuances of sailing, lobstering, etc. are definitely lost on me, but Dane uses this Maine-specific activities as ciphers for a greater understanding of the nature of love, loss, family, and why people continue to make the same mistakes even as they know they're doing it. I can't think of a book that covers more ground in as few pages as this one. It's absolutely breathtaking.

The narrative is nonlinear, but follows along with Dane's recurring metaphor of groping through the fog for unknown destinations. The resulting journey is both elegiac and frequently pretty hilarious. The prose is straightforward, sort of Hemingway-esque, and very fluid and easy to understand.

Basically, this is a profoundly moving and simply touching memoir. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sid Evans on July 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a good summer reading book - Traveling to Maine? read the book! -- Have visited Maine? read the book! Want an engrossing, cohesive book - yet one that can be put down between chapters when pressed for time? (each chapter is a self contained story) - read the book!..

This is an approachable book - To enjoy this one you don't have to know or want to know Maine. You don't have to sail or want to sail. Although certainly sailing and Maine are the fabric (so, if those are your thing, there is a lot in this book for you) - the individual threads are the memories: of family and friends and lovers. The introduction sucks you in - and the chapters pull you along. It is a compelling read. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Stencavage on June 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
More accessible than Kerouac, more redemptive than Salinger; Dogfish Memory is a Rorschach literary experience for those willing to renegotiate life's expectations. Joseph Dane brilliantly connects the reader to a tenderly haunting narrative tenuously anchored by love and love lost. He cleverly exposes the tension of perceptual reality with self-deprecating wit and forces us to reconcile the existential flotsam of our own life story. I began reading a book about sailing the beautiful yet challenging Maine Coast; I concluded with the shared catharsis of navigating alone--farewell Linda Jean.
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