SAILING IN A SPOONFUL OF WATER by Joe Coomer

SAILING IN A SPOONFUL OF WATER

A Man, a Family, and a Vintage Wooden Boat

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Sweet but ultimately vapid days spent with novelist Coomer (Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God, 1995, etc.) aboard his wooden motorsailer. Coomer and his wife and children summer in Eliot, Maine, hard by the Piscataqua River estuary. Why not, he figured, buy a boat? Perusing the boating magazines, he found a nifty old wooden vessel for sale, ``twenty-eight feet from plumb bow to plumb transom,'' broad and comfy and with a door for the loo. The boat was christened Yonder, a nod to Coomer's proclaimed (though unsubstantiated) wanderlust, and what follow are recountings of little nautical ventures poking about the Maine coast, its islands and rivers and shoreside curiosities. It is all very lighthearted: On his maiden cruise, Coomer screws up and humiliatingly has to be rescued after his engine fails; he and cronies boat and kill a bluefish in a flawed, mock-heroic event. He interminably dissects the hours spent aboard with his extended family; pays an unhappy visit to Yonder's original boatyard; catalogs the small pleasures of boat life, like when he would ``wake up every morning, wipe the dew from the helm and the instruments, have the engine start on the first crank, and set off into an accepting sea.'' Gradually, a note of boastful self-regard slips into the otherwise amiable narrative. At one point Coomer observes that ``one of my novels sold to a big producer in Hollywood,'' and when his wife suggests that the purchase of Yonder might run ``a lot of money,'' Coomer shoots back, ``Heather, we make a lot of money.'' So light, it melts into air, but the episodes of chest- thumping leave a raw, unwanted patch. (b&w photos) (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-312-15646-4
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Picador
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1997




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