Sparks combusted out of them and were whipped spinning into effervescence, aphrodisiac minions, illicit dervishes, spouting excesses of a rampant beast, each fresh explosion sucked back into the now panting creature whose streaming pelvis arched to receive herself, limbs convulsing, flung wide and slamming together in a closed circuit of lubricity."" The subject of this unintelligible sentence is the sea (also apostrophized as the hymen of the heart) and the semi-subject of this mammalian novel is also the sea since it devolves around Jonathan Wainwright, his forebears, and other natives of a small Long Island town who have made their living off it. Depressingly it is only the first six hundred pages of a prospective tetralogy and obviously it should have been edited with a dredge.... Jonathan is a ""yahoo,"" a marauder, one who takes without giving, one from a line of baymen who have destroyed and exploited whales, ducks, oysterbeds, and in the second half of this epic Mary, a girl who drifts into town, whom he marries at fifty, consumed by a passion he cannot control or convert to love. Simultaneously fore and aft this is the story of his closest friend, wealthy August Baxter, Baxter's adulterous wife whom Jonathan also loved, and before that of his mother's adultery and the possibility that he is August's half-brother. The whole turbulent geneology-chronology covers some forty years. Buckley is the son of William F. and although he's just as verbal (take ""energumen"" -- second meaning -- passionate enthusiast) he is altogether without guile. Hurricane-- well it's another kind of catastrophe.