Curator Reviews

William Finnegan

The most piercing, most beautiful sea tale I’ve read. Told almost entirely through dialogue—through Caribbean dialect, no less, where “Captain” becomes “Copm”—with the sparest possible narration, as precise as haiku, and pictographs, inkblots, great tracts of white space on the page. Nine working men set sail on an old schooner out of Grand Cayman, hunting green turtles. They talk to fill the ocean silence, their speech unattributed, and the drama circles and tightens. “Green turtle very mysterious, mon.” The characters sharpen into high suspense and tragedy. Matthiessen’s touch, his ear, his eye, his taut presence just outside the story’s frame—all miraculous, mon.

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