Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Just finished reading Hull Creek, a novel by Jim Nichols. It's a good, strong book about lobster fishing on the coast of Maine - mid-coast, actually, and Camden, Rockland and Owls Head at that. Camden is very thinly disguised as Pequot but Rockland and Owls Head appear pretty much in all their glory. It was fun to read about local landmarks, sad to read about the increasingly pinched lives of local Mainers, and disturbing to read about the onslaught of people from away ("swanks"). Mr. Nichols might have been a little less unrelenting in his treatment of the foreigners - some of them (us) are harmless at worst and may actually do some good at best - but I can see his point, that there's a helplessness, an inevitability to this slow tide of money and manners. And sometimes not slow but a grab and a pounce at any price.
The book's descriptions of fishing and wildlife are excellent, and I expect that one take-home from the novel is that there's a chance there will be fishing and wildlife for years and years to come. The Maine way of life may be powerful enough to convert even the grabbiest of swanks, so long as the birds and the lobsters and clean water and humility survive. Even Camden's pretty nice in the off-season.