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The Lord's Oysters (Maryland Paperback Bookshelf) Paperback – March 1, 1977
Frequently bought together
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"This is literally a wonderful book. The wonder is that of a boy, Noah Marlin, growing up along the Chester River near the Chesapeake Bay. Inevitably there is something of Twain and Tarkington in his pranks, hooky-playing, and fishing. But other qualities distinctly Gilbert Byron's make the novel more than a nostalgic re-creation of an American childhood. This isn't childhood we're reading about, it's life."(Saturday Review)
"Crabs, perch, terrapin and frogs enter the episodes, but they are the only things fishy about this very happy sequence of a boy's growing."(New York Times Book Review)
From the Back Cover
Nationally acclaimed when first published in 1957 by Atlantic/Little, Brown, The Lord's Oysters has never previously been available in a paperback edition. While presented as a novel, it captures with vivid fidelity the life of the Chesapeake watermen and their families in the early 20th century.
Top customer reviews
These books are comprised of many short chapters, some flowing one to the next, others not, which suggests that these books -- particularly the first, The Lord's Oysters -- formed as a collection of short stories and expanding out from there. The prose is charmingly naive, but very sincere, and enchantingly observant and contemplative. Young Noah really connects to his surroundings and deeply relates to his family and friends. Byron does a great job in not only spinning a good yarn but to really create an environment.
The Lord's Oysters, written decades before Done Crabbin', is a bit more raw than its sequel. However, these two books seamlessly flow, one to the other. So much so I would advocate publishing them together. Nevertheless, either can be read without the other, but obviously Done Crabbin' will be more meaningful after having read The Lord's Oysters. Furthermore, as Done Crabbin' ends, and Noah realizes he has forever left the river and is "done crabbin'", the impact and emotion is poignant.
The Lord's Oysters is a bit more whimsical, therefore, compared to the slightly more nostalgic and contemplative Done Crabbin'. All the same, Byron's tales are seldom without wit and quirky characters that bring a wonderful charm to these books.
My five stars are really for those of us that can connect with the Bay and Byron's tales. Frankly, I don't know if one with little or no connection to the Bay will find these as charming and nostalgic, but I'm sure there is something here for nearly anyone.
In the end, Byron offers us a trip back in time to a region that still holds wonder for me. While Byron's prose is not beautiful -- the writing is very direct if not naive -- his artless style somehow really creates the right mood to encounter a world of simplicity and wonder.
These books are from another time, and many details may offend, particularly descriptions of early twentieth century racism. While I don't believe we need even more evidence that this occurred not so long ago in our history, I do think that racism through young Noah's eyes is similarly bewildering to him as it is to us now. The Lord's Oysters seems to deal with racism more than Done Crabbin'.
These books are highly recommended if you have a connection the Bay and a certain nostalgia for Chesapeake culture. As those of us from the region can attest, there is really no place like the Chesapeake, and books like these really do remind us of that.