In Search of Captain Zero: A Surfer's Road Trip Beyond the End of the Road

Allan C. Weisbecker, Author
Allan C. Weisbecker, Author Jeremy P. Tarcher $24.95 (328p) ISBN 978-1-58542-069-8
Reviewed on: 03/01/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
MP3 CD - 978-1-4332-2561-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4332-2558-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4332-2557-4
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4332-6853-3
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4332-2563-5
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-58542-177-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4332-2560-4
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The foundation of Weisbecker's book packing all of his belongings and his dog into a camper and heading for Central America in search of surf and self, a couple of years short of his 50th birthday has all the makings of a trite, midlife crisis memoir. But the author's flair for describing natural beauty, and his strong sense of narrative rhythm and uncompromising candor, make for a lovely personal reflection that mixes the right amount of dreamy meditation with page-turning allure. Weisbecker (Cosmic Banditos) leaves his Long Island home in search of his childhood friend Christopher, who undertook a similar journey five years earlier and whose only correspondence has been a cryptic postcard signed ""Captain Zero."" Interspersed in Weisbecker's reports of the people he meets and his neatly composed descriptions of surfing are stories from his past that pace the book, including a hilarious account involving Christopher, an 80-foot banana boat, 10 tons of Colombian marijuana and the front yard of an unsuspecting homeowner on the Housatonic River. Weisbecker clearly delights in storytelling as much as he enjoys language itself, though his writing can get top-heavy; he describes a friend's pest problem as ""a zoomorphically motile disarrangement of darting mini-saurians along with fist-sized arachnids and their flossy nets."" But usually his imaginative power is better spent, as when he describes an approaching thunderstorm: ""The air is charged, buzzing and tingly with ionic discharge seeking ground; then with blinding, brittle bolts that air erupts, illuminating like overexposed photographs the landscape and adjoining sea."" Such imagery with a balance of pathos and humor make Weisbecker's account very worthwhile reading. (Mar.)
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