Linda Greenlaw,
All Fishermen are Liars
(Hyperion, 2005)

After two books of no-nonsense stories about life at sea, first as a swordboat captain and next as a lobsterman, Linda Greenlaw kicks back at a Portland, Maine, watering hole with a few fellow salts to swap yarns. And, while the title clearly states that "all fishermen are liars," these brine-encrusted adventures are all purportedly true -- if perhaps a bit stretched.

Bracketing the stories themselves are Linda's efforts to convince a dear friend and mentor to consider full or partial retirement or risk a lonely death at sea. The text is also brimming with Linda's thoughtful musings about life, love and family, much of which she weaves into a series of fisherman's metaphors.

Linda's book is populated, as usual, by an assortment of characters, most of whom would be equally fun to meet over a pint and chowder. Foremost among them are Alden, Linda's flawed but faithful friend, and George and Tommy, two ne'er-do-wells who have been thoroughly shredded by Linda to the extent I'm surprised they consented to join the bar crowd for her book jacket photo, much less be identified by name.

But the meat of Liars is the collection of sea stories, some harrowing, some funny, some sad, some inspiring.

Linda Greenlaw has a gift for bringing narrative to life, making even the most landlocked reader find his legs and scan the horizon for lowering clouds.

[ visit the author's website ]

review by
Tom Knapp

28 July 2007

what's new