An often sweet collection of short stories that will appeal most to fishermen.


Canyon Fever and Other Short Fishing Stories

In this debut collection of short stories and one novella, a veteran charter boat captain spins yarns about the people who make their livings on the waters around Narragansett, Rhode Island.

In this collection’s titular novella, “Canyon Fever,” Capt. Frank Hardy takes his young and loyal first mate, Ronnie, and two of his longtime clients, the Booth brothers, out into the Northeast Atlantic Canyons on an overnight fishing trip. The trip starts out as an alarming success, with the quartet of experienced fishermen catching tuna after tuna with ease, but unfortunately, it doesn’t end that way. Hardy has been coping with the death of his beloved wife and only child to cancer, but soon he finds his own life in danger when his boat, the Lucky, starts to sink. Stranded on a makeshift raft in the middle of dark waters, the men must work together in order to survive—or be killed by the sharks hungrily circling the raft. “Canyon Fever” is accompanied by several shorter vignettes illustrating brief moments in the lives of others in this ocean-side community, including “Dad’s Wish,” in which a son charters a boat to Block Island to grant his father’s dying request, and “Unforgettable Striper,” in which a man confined to a wheelchair after a devastating injury decides that he needs one more trip out on the water to fish with eels at night. Author Denny is clearly an expert fisherman, and his love for and knowledge of his subject shines through with a warm, golden glow. However, he delivers occasionally clunky prose (“It was wise to seek permission from a lobster captain before you went to the Canyon and make sure you know which end of a high-flier is the right end”). Also, the book is so dense with insider fishing knowledge and terminology that, even with a helpful glossary, it may not appeal to readers who don’t regularly head out on the water. Still, Denny infuses his stories with simple themes of kindness, generosity, and goodwill that should be relatable to all.

An often sweet collection of short stories that will appeal most to fishermen.  

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4991-2205-3

Page Count: 184

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2015

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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