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When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man Hardcover – April 12, 2012


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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; 1 edition (April 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781594488092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594488092
  • ASIN: 1594488096
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,096,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Complex and suspenseful . . . Dybek manages to create [a] genuine tragedy-powerful, mythic, unforgettable."-Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule


"An authentic, atmospheric, coming-of-age story with a painful dilemma . . . A terrific debut."-C. J. Box, author of Back of Beyond


"Robert Louis Stevenson would be proud of Nick Dybek. . . . He delivers a page-turner full of danger, secrets, and betrayals."-Stewart O'Nan, author of Emily, Alone


"Part mystery, part lament, part coming-of-age drama, this novel will stay with you long after you turn the last page. . . . Fascinating and powerful."-Daniel Alarcón, author of Lost City Radio


"An engrossing and exacting moral thriller."-Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl


"I was grateful to experience full-tilt insomnia, reading Nick Dybek's splendid, haunting, When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man. . . . I love this novel."-Howard Norman, author of What Is Left the Daughter


"Nick Dybek grabs hold of both your imagination and your conscience, and won't let them rest."-Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Ms. Hempel Chronicles

About the Author

Nick Dybek is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is the recipient of a Hopwood Award for short fiction, a Maytag Fellowship, and a 2010 James Michener- Copernicus Society of America Award. Dybek lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Dybek is a great storyteller.
Ed
This book, written in the first-person by Cal, tells a believable story and the characters are well developed.
Michael G. Lustig
While I didn't dislike it, I didn't really like it either.
Terry L

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Treasure Island was one of my favorite reads as a child and when I saw this book being described as a take on the classic novel, I was predictably intrigued. As I settled down to read this story, I found myself engaged in a plot that is filled with drama, high atmosphere, dark deeds, and mystery, as well as a story that deals with the themes of friendship, loyalty, and moral dilemmas.

Part of what makes When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man such an interesting read for me is the sense of atmosphere and dark drama. Protagonist, 15-year-old Cal Bolling, lives on the remote Loyalty Island. A major industry for the island's inhabitants is king crab catching, which is an endeavor not without its share of great peril. When the man who owns the business dies, his son Richard decides to sell the business, jeopardizing the very lifeblood of the island's population. Richard goes missing during a crabbing expedition, and the locals are relieved.

Well, Cal makes a dark discovery and together with his best friend, faces a serious moral dilemma - should this dark secret be revealed, or should they keep silent and ensure the security of the locals? The themes explored here bear similarities to Treasure Island, and fans of the classic might enjoy this dark tale as well as the author's narrative style.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ethan on April 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
To fifteen-year-old Cal, his father is like a stranger. The family resides on Loyalty Island, a costal Washington community that relies on the Alaskan king-crabbing season to provide economic stability. Each winter, Cal and his mother are left alone while Henry braves the harsh conditions of the Bering Sea. Despite Henry's well intentions, Cal feels a disconnect with his father. His mother, who moved to the island after falling in love with Henry and becoming pregnant with Cal, spends countless hours in the basement, listening to her large record collection and recalling her earlier years.

Now that he is older, Cal is noticing trouble in is parent's marriage. They argue about whether or not he should become a fisherman like is father. His mother unrelentingly insists that he will complete school and find a job away from the community's difficult lifestyle. Even more troubling than the disagreements, however, is the amount of time that his mother spends with local tycoon John Gaunt.

Gaunt owns the entire fleet of crabbing boats and the local cannery. When he suddenly dies, the entire business is left in the hands of his son Richard, who has never embraced the lifestyle of his father. As Richard threatens to disrupt the livelihood of the community, and Cal's mother, now pregnant and distraught with grief, flees to a friend's home in California, Cal is forced to remain with his father. When the winter crap season approaches, Cal discovers information that shows how far his father has gone to protect their way of life. What follows is a harrowing tale of a young man, forced to come to terms with his family, himself, and to decide what is the "right" thing to do.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel.
Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lauri Crumley Coates VINE VOICE on May 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I always have seen Alaska as somewhat dark, brooding and dangerous. Icy cold, windy, with people who keep to themselves and are self-sufficient. Much of the work there involves fishing, and the ocean can be a dangerous place. The work is hard, but pays well, so the danger is considered part of the daily risk of living your life your way. Some men leave their families to work on fishing boats, but never make it home again.

Young Cal's father is away a good part of the year on a crabbing vessel. It's the only life they know, and Cal grows up knowing it. This novel is extremely well written, especially for a first time, debut author. He has raised the bar of expectation for his future work. The plot moves well, the characters are rich and full, and the story never slows down. I devoured this book, then reread it again a few weeks later, just for the pure thrill and enjoyment that comes with savoring a marvelous read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By sanoe.net VINE VOICE on May 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Nick Dybek's "When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man" is reportedly a riff on "Treasure Island" but one doesn't need to have read "Treasure Island" to appreciate this haunting and literate debut novel.

Cal is 14 as the story opens. He lives in a town called Loyalty Island which sits on a pennisula in the rough, wet that is northern Washington state. It is a town that lives on the sea as the fisherman leave for six months out of the year to make their way to Alaska to harvest king crab.

It is a tough life as all fishers of the sea can be. But when the owner of the fleet dies, it is left to the owner's son who is young and uninterested in keeping the fleet.

What happens in reaction ensnares Cal and his friend in a web of betrayal and lost dreams of the Shakespearean kind.

Pacing of the story is excellent. Minor quibble is that Dybek overdosing some on the metaphors and that may turn people off as might the complete lack of humor.

But I could live with it okay because I liked the precise characterization of Cal, his friend, the tragic Richard, the distant but loved father, and Cal's strong and fed-up mother.

Also, Dybek does a great job of describing the life and smells of a fishing town.

Excellent read. Hard to say that 'enjoyed' it because the ending is haunting, but it left me mesmerized.
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