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The Hungry Ocean
ISBN 0340728965 / 9780340728963 / 0-340-72896-5
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What a difference an international bestseller makes. Especially if you're one of its main characters. Until the summer of 1997, Linda Greenlaw was the captain of the Hanah Boden, sister ship to the Andrea Gale, which sank off the Newfoundland coast in one of the USA's worst-ever storms. Until publication of Sebastian Junger's phenomenally successful The Perfect Storm, nobody cared. With it, however, came media attention and, as Greenlaw frankly puts it, "opportunity".
The Hungry Ocean is an object lesson in realising opportunity. Though not as lyrical or dramatic as The Perfect Storm, it's better for it. This is the real thing, telling the story of a typical month-long swordfish fishing trip: the professionals and chancers who make up the crew, the constant yearning to get home, the thrill of the catch--it's all here. "Mug Up" chapters interweave the narrative with a wealth of background detail and fishing lore, the best of which is the section on superstitions: don't eat pork at sea because "Pigs and water just don't jive".
Watch out for the ubiquitous one that got away story, the size of the fish judged tellingly by value, not weight--"a $2,000 fish". This can be dirty, monotonous, soul-destroying work. Crew and Captain do it for the money. Such is the veracity of Greenlaw's narrative landlubbers can't help feeling there must be better ways of earning it. Greenlaw would disagree. She'd prefer to go back to fishing than pursue her new-found celebrity as author. But she definitely has talent on dry land too. --Jim Rickards [via]