Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn

Paul Watkins, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $17.95 (275p) ISBN 978-0-395-50959-3
Sharks are not the only peril faced by James Pfeiffer, age 20, as he works on a scallop trawler off the Rhode Island coast. Treacherous accidents and the risk of drug-running operations cloud the waters; the sting of losing his girlfriend adds bite to the salt air. Watkins, whose critically praised first novel, Night over Day over Night , was published when he himself was his hero's age (he is now 24), has worked on the ships he writes about, and his seafaring adventure is also a coming-of-age novel. James's mixture of love and contempt for his fisherman father Russ, coupled with Russ's fierce desire to see his son make something better of himself, drives the story. Among the crew members are an ex-Green Beret with psychotic tendencies and a hard-drinking former lumberjack. Watkins's spare, whittled-down prose does not buoy up the action, but readers will savor the realistic evocations of life at sea and the portrayal of a particular maritime subculture. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-312-15418-9
Paperback - 978-0-380-71222-9
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