ZENAS AND THE SHAVING MILL by F. N. Monjo

ZENAS AND THE SHAVING MILL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The ragged right margins and the smooth, billowing rhythms of seventeen-year-old Zenas Coffins's Yankee speech place his unrhymed, anecdotal soliloquy somewhere between prose and poetry. Zenas describes the difficulties of being a pacifist Nantucket Quaker in (Revolutionary) wartime while sailing his sloop to the mainland to smuggle food for his family; on the way back he's pursued by a ""shaving mill"" (the Friends' word for privateer--she could be a Tory or a Liberty Boy, as both raid Zenas' neutral community), but loses her through smarter sailing. But instead of the usual story with a historical setting, Monjo uses the ""action"" as a frame for, and illustration of, the historical situation Zenas describes. Tales of how other Friends have lost their ships to one side or another, how the British army prevents their fishing the sea, and how neighbor Debra Chase once ""larruped"" an occupying Tory on the head with her water bucket add up to a personable glimpse of another early America. All the names and events are real, appends Monjo, and it rolls along as light and easy as the Lively Abby.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan