Dick Pierce, fisherman and boat-builder, lives on the Rhode Island shore in a backwater world of salt marshes, alcoholic fishermen, crab boats and old homesteads disappearing under new resorts for inland tourists. A stubborn man thoughtful enough to know that the world is becoming too small for men like himself, Pierce has a mortgage, a family, a "puny income from lobstering" and a dream: to finish the half-built boat in his backyard so he can fish for red crabs out in deep water, make some real money and raise himself and his family up. He is a classic American solitary hero, and Casey knows the sloughs of the Rhode Island shore as well as any fisherman. Spartina
won the National Book Award
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From Publishers Weekly
In his first novel since his 1978 debut with An American Romance , Casey uses a simple, unadorned narrative style to create an evocative character study. Dick Pierce is a Rhode Island fisherman who has managed to support his wife and two sons but has always found bigger and easier money just one step--a bank loan, a sponsor, a bigger boat--out of his reach. Instead, he works alone, and occasionally takes rich couples out for fishing runs, although he can barely tolerate their arrogance and dilettantish behavior. Taciturn and restless in his 40s, he grows inward, nursing grudges and regrets, until the unexpected occurs: an affair with Elsie, a bright young National Resources warden who alone has the power to draw out and challenge her lover. Gruff and relatively inexpressive, Pierce might be an impenetrable central character in the hands of a lesser writer, but Casey's skills as a portraitist are considerable; he captures just enough of Pierce's private moments and lonely fears to make him touching and believable.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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