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The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island Paperback – June 11, 2003

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Frequently Bought Together

The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island + All Fishermen Are Liars: True Tales from the Dry Dock Bar + The Hungry Ocean: A Swordboat Captain's Journey
Price for all three: $42.99

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; Reprint edition (June 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786885912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786885916
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Greenlaw (The Hungry Ocean), known to readers of The Perfect Storm as the captain of the sister ship to the ill-fated Andrea Gail, gave up swordfishing to return to her parents' home on Isle Au Haut off the coast of Maine and fish for lobster. Her plainspoken essays paint a picture of a grueling life as she details maintaining her boat and her equipment, setting and hauling hundreds of traps with a crew of one (her father, a retired steel company executive), contending with the weather and surviving seasons when the lobsters don't bother to come around. She intersperses her narrative with plenty of eccentrics who live on her tiny island (there are 47 full-time residents, half of whom she's somehow related to). Among them are Rita, the inveterate borrower who's such a nuisance that Greenlaw's parents hide behind the couch when they see her coming; George and Tommy of Island Boy Repairs, who make a horrendous mess of every job they undertake; and Victor, the cigar-eating womanizer who imports a red-headed flasher from Alabama. One of Greenlaw's themes is her desire to find a husband but, according to her friend Alden, she intimidates men: she's tough talking, feisty and very self-assured, which is no doubt why the other lobstermen on the island readily accept her as one of them. Self-speculation and uncertainties such as these nicely balance her delightfully cocky essays of island life.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Greenlaw's first book, The Hungry Ocean, was a best seller because it was written by a female sword boat captain; her vessel was a sister ship to the Andrea Gail (the subject of Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm); and it was a darn good story. The author has an impressive command of language, combining her own salty remarks with wry and witty characterizations. It also doesn't hurt that she has an eccentric and eclectic group of people to describe in her latest memoir. Greenlaw left swordfishing to return to Isle au Haut, seven miles off the coast of Maine, where her parents live. Confronted with only one general store, no Starbucks, no video store, no mall, and lacking nearly any amenity that most people expect these days, she would be the first to admit she's returned to a simpler way of life. With her retired father as her crew of one, she maintains her boat, the Mattie Belle, and the equipment; sets and hauls hundreds of lobster traps; and wrestles with the weather, elusive lobsters, her mother's battle with breast cancer, and her own biological clock. She returned to this island in order to be closer to her parents, find a husband, build a house, and have children. Despite the isolation and lack of services on Isle au Haut, most listeners will somewhat envy the simpler life and sense of community and family that Greenlaw celebrates. Highly recommended for all public library collections.
Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Linda Greenlaw, America's only female swordfish boat captain, was featured in the book and film The Perfect Storm. She has written three New York Times bestselling nonfiction books about life as a commercial fisherman as well as a cookbook and two mysteries.

Customer Reviews

Even with improved grammar the story is not compelling enough to keep your interest.
Anthony M. Frasca
Ms. Greenlaw writes gracefully and with great nobility about her family's encounter with devastating illness.
S. A. Cartwright
The Lobster Chronicles by Linda Greenlaw is just the sort of work that completely captivates me.
D. Blankenship

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By BeachReader on July 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book is an interesting chronicle of a life about which I previously knew nothing. Five years ago, Linda Greenlaw gave up her 17-year career as a swordboat captain and returned home to her tiny island off the coast of Maine to fish for lobsters. Quite a change from her previous life on the high seas! She now "captains" a small boat with her only crew member being her father, a far cry from the excitement of swordfish fishing.
Greenlaw's unadorned, reportorial descriptions of the trials, tribulations, and sometimes- joys of the life she has chosen made for good reading. She gives us the technical and nautical details in ways that seem almost uncomplicated. I had no idea what lobster fishing involved and think she presented it in a great way. Her love of and respect for the ocean is apparent throughout the book.
I especially liked the vignettes of some of the islanders. Most entertaining. The book is really a lovely commentary on life, rather than a "how to" book on lobster fishing.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By John R. Linnell on July 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In her second book, Linda Greenlaw has returned from the sea (17 years as a longline swordfishing captain, the subject of The Hungry Ocean) and returned to her roots on The Isle Au Haut, one of the islands 47 year round residents.
Her "fishing" is now done from a 35' lobster boat; her Dad is her sternman and her Mother is becoming her best friend. As she uses them, her stories about lobstering are metaphors about life and she interweaves stories of how one "fishes" for the wily crustaceans with stories of the many crusty characters that share her "High Island."
She has an ear for conversations and an interesting way of telling the little stories that make life on a rock something that some hold near and dear. I believe the stories will reach people who do not live Down East, whether we be fortunate enough to live in one of the highest taxed states in the nation with the best views or not, for in the end they are all about the human condition. Undoubtedly, her older sister still consdiers her literary efforts to be a book long personals ad, as there is plenty in The Lobster Chronicles about trying to find a husband as well.
Hopefully, the subject of actually landing one will be
the topic for a third book. This is very entertaining and worthwhile writing by an author who is only improving as she continues to find her way.
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48 of 55 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on July 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Firstly, I use the word person for the author does not like to be labeled with some feminine or neuter version of fisherman, and secondly because anyone who has a list of accomplishments that Linda Greenlaw has is remarkable, period. She excelled as an athlete, a student, eventually completing her studies at Colby College, and then becoming the captain of a swordboat, a captain that equaled her male peers, and by many who would know, exceeded them all. Her 17-year career as a fisherman had all the hardships that anyone choosing the life would encounter, compounded by the fact she was a woman. Trouble actually started the day she told her mother that she was off to the sea after she had earned her diploma. Her mother proceeded to take out her anger on the contents of the kitchen cabinets, and very little that was breakable remained whole.
Throughout her career as an offshore captain she not only brought home the swordfish that were unfortunate enough to cross her path, she brought home her boat and her men. She did this year after year in the most dangerous career there is, commercial fishing. The movie from the book of the same title, "The Perfect Storm", introduced millions to the loss of the Andrea Gale, her crew, and also the boat captained by Linda Greenlaw. She wrote a book about what life was like at sea for a month or more at a time hunting her prey. The book was called, "The Hungry Ocean", and it made Linda Greenlaw in to a best selling author. Her work remained for 6 months on the NYT Bestseller List. Not bad for a first time author.
"The Lobster Chronicles", will likely follow her first success, for it is as interesting, and it shows just how well this, lady, (excuse me captain), can write.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Haschka TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
You may remember Linda Greenlaw as a supporting character (played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) in George Clooney's THE PERFECT STORM. Following that film, the real-life Greenlaw described her experience as the captain of a North Atlantic swordfishing boat in the riveting best seller, THE HUNGRY OCEAN. Now, in THE LOBSTER CHRONICLES, Linda has returned to her home island, Isle au Haut, Maine, to run a lobster boat.
Fishing for lobster isn't as potentially dangerous or dramatic as chasing swordfish. And it's more of a 9 to 5 job where you get to sleep at night under a roof in your own bed. So, while Greenlaw shares enough knowledge about lobstering for the reader to get a feel for it, the bulk of the book is about related (or unrelated) people and events: the effort by a town committee to acquire the local lighthouse from the government, the state of emergency medicine on the isolated Isle au Haut, the prospect of a turf war with mainland lobstermen, her mother's battle with cancer, friends lost at sea, her father (who serves as sternman on her lobster boat), the scarcity of eligible bachelors, her culinary ineptitude, and her dislike of dogs.
THE LOBSTER CHRONICLES is a pleasant but lesser sequel to THE HUNGRY OCEAN. Linda's self-effacing humor is perhaps the volume's major strong point, as well as the book's charm as a description of contemporary Americana. Some of Linda's prose is striking, as her description of the waves parading north as seen from the window of her home:
"Some of the officers on horseback nodded shocks of white hair while masses of lower-rank sailors kept eyes forward and sternly marched in the most rehearsed fashion to the wind ... The trees lining the shore waved like spectators ...
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