IN THE SLICK OF THE CRICKET by Russell Drumm

IN THE SLICK OF THE CRICKET

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A superb portrait of a white-shark fishing guide--deft and sparingly, beautifully written. You might never have laid eyes on this book save for the Pushcart Prize people, who rescued it from obscurity with their 16th annual Editor's Book Award for overlooked manuscripts. You wouldn't have had the chance to be stunned by the dexterous writing, deeply impressed by the layered understanding the writer has brought to the subject. Drumm covers the waterfront beat for the East Hampton Star, which means if you want a real story, you'll spend your time in Montauk. There he came across Frank Mundus, the captain of Cricket II, a 40-year veteran of charter boats specializing in sharks. Drumm spins a wonderful tale of Mundus's fishing days: The captain radiates from the page like a force, an Urcharter captain, all canny and crude, full of stories (of sharks stuffed into phone booths for a laugh, of sharks hung from fire escapes in New York City by proud fishermen) and deeds (standing on the floating carcass of a whale and tossing cookies to circling great whites; bagging the 4,500-pounder that brought him to the attention of Peter Benchley, who fashioned him into Quint). Mundus also exudes a spooky, vaguely sinister field of energy (sacrificing a goat to a shark helped here, as did allowing a shark to be turned into a pincushion of arrows). This is not strict journalistic fare, much of the book being a highly personal, apocalyptically inclined evocation of a five-day shark trip with Mundus. But Drumm is one of those rare journalists who know all the crannies and foibles of their home patch, have done all the legwork, and appreciate the difference between exploration and exploitation. A first-rate story of a person and place out of time; thanks Mundus, thanks Drumm, thanks Pushcart. (photos)

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1997
ISBN: 1-888889-05-5
Page count: 315pp
Publisher: Pushcart
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1997