Traces of Thoreau Hbk

Stephen Mulloney, Author
Stephen Mulloney, Author Northeastern University Press $42.5 (176p) ISBN 978-1-55553-344-1
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-1-55553-343-4
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No doubt many people have read Thoreau's Cape Cod and pledged to follow his footsteps--to walk from Eastham to Provincetown and then ""make a book on Cape Cod."" So you've got to admire Mulloney's tenacity, even if his version of his journey tends to be rather, well, pedestrian. A media affairs specialist with the Massachusetts Legislature, Mulloney isn't exactly a subtle writer (""Boom! Now there was a wave!"" he observes, only minutes after another wave ""ran up the shore and grabbed [him] around the ankles."" He also has a penchant for hyperbole, though it could be his way of paying homage to Thoreau. Regardless, it's grating--a look becomes ""a gander"" and the sun is either ""that supreme luminary,"" ""a ruby red circle shining through a veil of vapor"" or ""the hot star."" It might help if he were consistent, but mixing modern slang with antiquated formal language (one minute he's going on about ""a Munchkin-sized woman"" and the next he's complaining about her ""doleful mien"") only highlights the problem. Mulloney's real strength is his knowledge of the Cape; he used to be a television reporter there, and his descriptions will resonate with anyone familiar with the region. He also offers insightful commentary on everything from development and environmental issues to local lingo (including the all-important distinction between locals and natives). (June)
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