A CAPE COD JOURNAL by Erma J. Fisk

A CAPE COD JOURNAL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Posthumous journals from an octogenarian amateur ornithologist who wrote her first book at 75. Fisk (d. February 1990), living on Pleasant Bay on Cape Cod, had been a widow for 25 years when she ""accidentally"" began writing The Peacocks of Baboquivari (1983) and then found she had a hit on her hands. During the next five years, while living utterly alone in her cabin, she published three more works, including Parrot's Wood (1985), and finished a whodunit that got turned down and trunked. The present journal selections were written between travels in her VW Rabbit to various teas, colleges, and signings at bookstores and women's clubs. But all was not joy for the very late-blooming successful author: ""It still hurts me to see a couple kissing, exchanging private glances across a restaurant table, a living room. Loneliness, a heart, stopping stab, can catch you in mid-sentence, will always be a subliminal ache."" We follow her through the head-spinning mysteries of first publication, then the calls for a new book: ""But you don't just write a book. There is the proofreading, the explanations to a copy editor whose mental outlook, generational language and ways are different from yours. Proofreading again. And again. The glum fear that my book is no good. . ."" And still again she says: ""What I found hardest, what I still miss after all these years, is having a man who comes home because he wants to come home. . ."" Meanwhile, she feels split by her writing persona: "". . .here is this imposter in party clothes and lipstick, driving down wrong wads, I've just had to backtrack, I don't know where I am: going out to be a public figure, however minor."" Quite moving here and there, stuffed with small travels, household minutiae, birds, wild animals, and a dead whale on the beach.

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 1990
Publisher: Norton