From Publishers Weekly
There's a Condé Nast Traveler article fighting to get out of bestseller Buffett's first new novel in a decade, a groovily laid-back, ramblingly anecdotal, sun-soaked bit of Caribbean escapism that his Parrothead fans will relish like another chorus of "Margaritaville." Tully Mars, a 40-ish ex-cowboy turned guide at the Lost Boys Fishing Lodge island resort, undertakes various sojourns around the Caribbean, to Mayan ruins, a jungle safari camp, a spring break bacchanal in Belize. Nothing much happens—"That day, we spent the rest of the daylight hours on the shallow waters of Ascension Bay and the lagoon amid incredible natural beauty unlike anything I had ever seen before" is about as busy as it gets—except that Tully meets a parade of colorful natives and expatriates, including a Mayan medicine man, a British commando and a 103-year-old woman who skippers a sailing schooner and wants to restore a historic lighthouse on Cayo Loco, the titular island. The characters are all hospitality entrepreneurs, and Buffett (A Pirate Looks at Fifty) also gives them shaggy-dog anecdotes, tidbits of Caribbean history and desultory life lessons to relate. There are glimmers of plot—bounty hunters, loves lost and found—but mostly Tully has little to do but savor the accommodations and atmospherics of tourist locales while the sea washes him with waves of love, happiness and maturity as infallibly as the tides. This book is as cheery and tropical as Buffet's music.
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Singer, songwriter, and novelist Buffet is back, and so is Tully Mars, the inimitable protagonist from Tales from Margaritaville (2002). Recounting his transformation from cowboy to lighthouse keeper in eccentrically humorous style, Tully reminds us why Buffet's laid-back lyrics and stream-of-consciousness prose are almost hypnotically addictive. On the run after a tussle with his Cruella De Ville-like employer, psycho poodle-rancher Thelma Barston, Tully heeds the call of his beloved conch, evading a posse of bounty hunters as he heads south toward the swell of warm ocean breezes, encountering a predictable but nevertheless engaging cast of characters along the way. Eventually alighting on the edge of the Yucatan Peninsula, he crosses paths with Cleopatra Highbourne, the 103-year-old captain of the Lucretia, who entices him to join her in an almost quixotic quest. Hopping onboard the aging schooner, Tully embarks on a psychedelic odyssey that concludes with the restoration of an ancient Bahamian lighthouse on Cayo Loco--the aforementioned salty piece of land. This mystical, mind-bending journey will appeal to fans of Buffet's uniquely fuzzy blend of comedy and insight. Margaret Flanagan
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