A SALTY PIECE OF LAND

Jimmy Buffett, Author . Little, Brown $27.95 (480p) ISBN 978-0-316-90845-0

There's a Condé Nast Traveler article fighting to get out of bestseller Buffett's first new novel in a decade, a groovily laid-back, ramblingly anecdotal, sun-soaked bit of Caribbean escapism that his Parrothead fans will relish like another chorus of "Margaritaville." Tully Mars, a 40-ish ex-cowboy turned guide at the Lost Boys Fishing Lodge island resort, undertakes various sojourns around the Caribbean, to Mayan ruins, a jungle safari camp, a spring break bacchanal in Belize. Nothing much happens—"That day, we spent the rest of the daylight hours on the shallow waters of Ascension Bay and the lagoon amid incredible natural beauty unlike anything I had ever seen before" is about as busy as it gets—except that Tully meets a parade of colorful natives and expatriates, including a Mayan medicine man, a British commando and a 103-year-old woman who skippers a sailing schooner and wants to restore a historic lighthouse on Cayo Loco, the titular island. The characters are all hospitality entrepreneurs, and Buffett (A Pirate Looks at Fifty ) also gives them shaggy-dog anecdotes, tidbits of Caribbean history and desultory life lessons to relate. There are glimmers of plot—bounty hunters, loves lost and found—but mostly Tully has little to do but savor the accommodations and atmospherics of tourist locales while the sea washes him with waves of love, happiness and maturity as infallibly as the tides. This book is as cheery and tropical as Buffet's music. (Nov. 30)

Forecast: There's nothing laid-back about the major promo effort the publisher is making to push Buffett's latest; the 650,000 first printing suggests the scale of the campaign. Expect this to hit bestseller lists fast.

Reviewed on: 10/18/2004
Release date: 11/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 510 pages - 978-0-316-01429-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-60024-267-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-58621-400-5
Ebook - 978-0-316-01550-9
Compact Disc
Open Ebook - 978-0-7595-1292-4
Ebook - 978-0-7595-1291-7
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-7595-1293-1
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-7595-1294-8
Hardcover - 544 pages - 978-0-316-74376-1
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-316-05996-1
Open Ebook - 266 pages - 978-0-316-13524-5
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