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New England

Dogfish Memory: A Memoir

Joseph A. Dane.
Publisher Countryman  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.5 x 0.75 inches
ISBN 9780881571547
Pages/Publication Date 254/2011
Daedalus Item Code 31401
This item is not available.
The dogfish of Maine are gone, fished to the brink of extinction. And what of that fabled "Old Maine"—is it too gone for good? Joseph Dane is a Maine native who, despite being a professor of English at the University of Southern California, returns to his family property in the East to spend summers sailing the coastline. His episodic, nonsequential sailing chronicle is structured like memory itself, charting the loss of a Maine recalled and imagined, and the loss of the love with which Dane's Maine is irrevocably associated.

"This narrative thread is way too broken to craft into the kind of story you might tell a friend. This is a narrative that attracts only readers. I have never seen a better illustration of how, spider-like and blind, we weave our lives, one tier to the next. I have never seen a memoir so aggressively honest."—LATimes

"In this meditative, unconventional memoir ... many of the sections have a subtle intensity that elevates them to prose poems while the focus on sailing always anchors them. In discarding chronology, Dane is able to present life as we remember it. As he notes in one particularly cogent insight: 'Imagined adventures ... lead from known to known. Real adventure, by contrast, begins at a single point in the fog and ends at one'."—Publishers Weekly

"Dogfish Memory combines memoir, elegy, quest narrative, sailing chronicle, and love story, and is held together by a remarkable voice—taut, frequently sardonic, precise, and utterly merciless towards all pretensions, all comforting illusions. It is a beautiful and moving book, propelled and obstructed by its emotional intensity, on the one hand, and its unrelenting, self-deflating intelligence on the other. I found myself thinking of W.G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn: not in its subject matter, but in its compelling inconsolability. But real books by real writers are sui generis, and this is a real book by a real writer."—Franklin Burroughs

"This book by Joseph Dane is what memoir should be. It is open, free, smart, and contemplative (without being philosophical). It is about sailing, yes, but it is also about time, about several places and one place, about the nature of metaphor and the limits of it. This is a superb work. (I would sail with this Dane fellow, but I would not let him choose a girlfriend for me."—Percival Everett

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