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A Salty Piece of Land Hardcover – Unabridged, November 30, 2004

245 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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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From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (November 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316908452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316908450
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,242,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 104 people found the following review helpful By J. Sutherland on October 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was lucky to receive an advance copy of the book. As a serious parrothead I was able to see the true life adventures of Jimmy Buffett played out by various characters in the book (Tully Mars and Willie Singer). The book is a work of "fictional facts" and lightly disguised life experiences of Jimy Buffett and his vivid imagination.

The story is fantabulous as the late Mel Fisher would say. The day Jimmy Buffett was at the discovery of the Atocha's mother load makes it into the story as well as many other true life adventures. For the Buffett fan this book is JB's best work and gives a true view into the passion, fears and the big question of Who is Jimmy Buffett. In this book you will find that JB is not a fisherman, pilot or surfer, those are just the things he does. You will see that the author is a passionate dreamer and romantic that makes a living as a musician.

The work is a great story as well as an education in philosophy, geography, history and life.

The book has 456 pages plus an afterword where Mr. Buffett tells us where the premise for the story came from as well as the fact he lost his parents and very close friends recently.

This book is worth the price and you will learn something as well as having the pleasure of a great adventure. If you are a Buffett fan, this book is a must! If you need a vacation to the Caribbean this book is your ticket.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I just finished Jimmy Buffett's meandering latest work, A Salty Piece of Land. I liked it, but I can see how others might be somewhat bored by it all.

The main character, Tully Mars, is on an adventure trying to escape from an unfortunate incident in his past (along with bounty hunters and trumped up charges). For a cowboy, he has a strange affinity for the sea, and soon he and his horse end up on a slow boat to a Caribbean island. He starts off working as a fishing guide for a new retreat there, but soon ends up on board a masted sailing ship commanded by a 100+ year old lady. Her life goal is to restore a certain lighthouse to its former glory, and to do so she needs to track down a rare type of lens for the lighting mechanism. This becomes Tully's goal too, and the two set out to meet people, share experiences, and track down the elusive lens. Along the way, Tully has to watch out for the bounty hunters as well as figure out where his life is really going.

The book is 462 pages, and I was being descriptive when I called it meandering. The plot line is extremely loose, and there's not any sense of build-up or pacing. It's one of those stories that could have been told in 200 pages (or less), but then it wouldn't have the flavor that it has. I think you have to be in a laid-back mood to read it, and just enjoy the characters and the twists of life for what they are. If you're looking for a tight, well-crafted story, this isn't it. Conversely, if you're looking to escape into the oceans, islands, and the off-beat characters found there, this could be what you're looking for. There's definitely plenty of Buffett to be found in the book, and I have no doubt that many of the scenes and incidents could be based on things that really happened to him.

So, go in with an open mind and the right attitude, and just let things flow. It's probably the best way to enjoy this one...
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Heather on March 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is like one long song by Jimmy . He weaves a tale of Tully Mars, the cowboy who takes his pony to the sea and goes out to find his place in the sun. Quirky characters and escapades throughout the Caribbean and coastal Mexico make this a fun and fast read. Throw in some adventures on a Schooner , the art of Flats Fishing and references to the movie The Man Who Would Be King (1975) and you have a love letter from Buffett to the things he loves and lives. There is nothing heavy or intellectual about this book and that's what makes it so fun. If you love the tales Jimmy weaves in his songs and the freewheeling lifestyle he leads then this book will give you plenty to smile about.

I give this book 5 out of 5 lost shakers of salt.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By charlie schenck on December 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book. I have been waiting for Jimmy Buffet to write another book since "Where is Joe Merchant" and "A Pirate looks at Fifty". I do truly enjoy his writing style. Some peole have downgraded this book because it is written different then pretty much every book you were made to read in school, they down graded this book because the author probablly broke some sacred writting rule that authors and Lit teachers are suppose to always obsereve. Well, I didn't much care for the books we were made to read in high school. This book is different. It just flows along leading you into a different adventure each chapter, it is all the same story about the main character you just learn all about all the other characters. All of Buffets books have made me want to just get a boat and float away to see where the current will take me. Buffet's writing just has a way of getting you there for the adventure and you are sad when it is over. Jimmy, if you ever have to stop singing you certanily could write books full time and I would read every one of them.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Parrothead Geek on April 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Anyone looking to read this that hasn't read 'Tales from Margaritaville' or 'Joe Merchant' should do so first. Of those two probably "Tales" will give the best prep since it provides the back story on Tully and shows off the good and bad of Jimmy's writing style throughout the short stories included there.

Also, anyone picking this up and expecting some deep meaning to be found within, Shakespeare or even John Grisham quality plot twists and character development should probably re-examine why they're considering reading the book :).

It's meant to be fun, escapist and simply entertaining. I found it met the mark more times than not in these categories and was a quick read.

Some of the plot is admittedly far too coincidental and fantasy, but...see the above re: escapism, fun, entertainment.
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