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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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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