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LADY-FAME; or, The Fluke: A Sea Story Paperback – April 24, 2014
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is one half reminiscence of a wild warehouse artists’ cooperative that was created by Pete and friends in Eureka in the late 1960’s+. Let your imagination go – yes, it was just like that, only more. The character portraits are hilarious. The anecdotes slide by like a night with friends, beer and weed – which they are. Then the frame shifts, and the story slowly re-focuses into a sort of personal Altamont. Like squeezing out a paint rag, applying spiral tension until it bleeds a different chapter of the same tale. And finally, the Christmas eve crab fishing apocalypse. That’s the whole second half of the book. The first part is in past tense. The second is in present tense. Some experiences never die. Only until captured, and the tale told. So the seaman can go home.
Truth may be stranger than fiction, but not knowing where truth leaves off and fiction begins in this book, and where they are flipping back and forth, is way fun for the reader, and gives Peter the artistic license he needed to create this work. Command of language varies from the nautical to the literary to the hippie vernacular of the times. It all works. The brilliant Shirley Lee’s collaboration as editor is evident at every level.
This book is really a great read, and keeps coming back on me – in bits & flashes, pictures in my mind’s eye, slow rolling thoughts - like all good art. Lingering smiles, droll chortles and winks, too. Grab this book and read it! (Get it in print. Feel that cover.) You’ll be glad you did.
- Herman Melville, Redburn
Mr. Santino can indeed "sing out at a rope". In this semi-autobiographical tale we follow a young artist's passage through the turbulent and truly crazy period encompassing the late 1960's and early 1970's. Set in a damp, isolated, working class corner of America, the author's life flows through roiling waters with a crew of artists setting up a community of their own and a group of commercial crab fishermen working in unpredictable seas. The book culminates in one of the most harrowing adventures I've encountered on the written page.
I loved the author's use of short vignettes and inventive dialogue to bring the rambling life of "artist as a young man" alive. The book has an almost surreal quality about it that evokes the era. I also appreciated the accompanying "spotify" list, an eclectic montage of music that further brings the story and the era alive.
Those interested in personal portrayals of the 1960's and 1970's (particularly those interested in the conceptual art and crab fishing), should read Santino's appealing story. Get a physical copy: it adds to the experience and is a piece of art in its own right.
The second part is Santinos' painstakingly detailed and suspenseful account of the capsize of the Lady-Fame, the boat he worked on, and the crew's survival at sea one Christmas Eve morning. Anyone who has had their own experience with the power of the sea will find this second half of the book hard to put down.
So beautifully constructed and wildly unpredictable that I sometimes have a brain fart and think I am reading Kurt Vonnegut Jr! But no, I am reading Peter Santino and it is a pure treat!
Peter is a talent unlike any other I have seen or read.