The Edge of MaineBook - 2005
Novelist and biographer Geoffrey Wolff has spent many summers in Maine—sailing its coastal waters, climbing its rocky peaks, and communing with its natives. Now, with the voice of a passionate insider, he brings readers into the heart of this striking region and explains what makes it unique. Starting with a gripping tale about being lost offshore in the fog with inadequate navigational aids, Wolff goes on to describe the coast’s geological history and discovery by Europeans. He then turns a keen eye towards Mainers, their mores and peculiarities, and to the summer rusticators who for generations have invaded the stunning waterfronts. A section on boat building celebrates the extraordinary rescue of Maine’s foremost craft; another on lobsters tells the rich story of the custom, taste, commerce, environmental conflict, and scientific mystery surrounding these critical crustaceans. Here is a true feast—travel literature at its best.
Baker & Taylor
An avid sailor and author of Providence and The Art of Burning Bridges offers an intriguing exploration of the ragged coast of Maine that captures the special characteristics, geological history, and cultural idiosyncracies of the region and includes incisive essays on the art of boat building and the unique relationship between Maine and the lobster.
An acclaimed novelist and biographer, Wolff applies his skill and 30-years experience as a sailor to describing the Maine coast. He covers the coast's geologic history and its discovery by Europeans who settled there to fish, trap and trade in lumber. He also explores Maine's tidal and river life, the lobster culture, shipbuilding, the peculiarities of its residents, and the fog. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Simon and Schuster
Geoffrey Wolff has spent thirty summers in Maine, sailing its coastal waters, and here he presents a vivid sampling of its depths. In Chapter One, "Out of the Fog," he tells a harrowing tale of being lost offshore with his family in thick fog without navigation aids. The trip ends with landfall at Mantinicus Island, way off course; the fog lifts and reveals, abruptly within feet, the rocky coast, "looking like thunderclouds but actually the shrouded peaks of spruce trees atop a cliff." This chapter is about the physics and metaphysics of fog-and the pure terror-and about being lost and losing oneself, says Wolff. Chapter Two, "The Ragged Coast," details its geological history and discovery by Europeans, exploring, fishing, settling, trapping, and lumbering. The "comic-operatically tangled early territorial history of places like Castine, where contradictory plaques commemorate the exploits of the French, English, colonial Americans in battles so pipsqueak in their causes and monumental in their outcomes." Chapter Three, "Natives and Rusticators," appreciates the peculiarities of Mainers. Their speech, the social standing among fellow colonists and later among the summer people who invaded their waterfronts and studied their mores. Wolff says he comes to this chapter as a novelist of manners, respectful. In Chapter Four, "Bath and the Kennebec." Wolff describes Bath, his summer home and the greatest shipbuilding port in the world during the great age of sail in the late 18th and 19th centuries. It combines history (and present) fishing, lumbering, shipbuilding, civic decline and renaissance, adaptation. Chapter Five, "Lobsters," is a "rich story of custom, taste, commerce, environmental conflict, and scientific mystery," says Wolff. "The lobster culture's sociology and economics, together with environmental tensions, make this chapter central to the story of the coast." "Boats" is Chapter Six, the extraordinary back-from-the-brink rescue of Maine's most exceptional art and craft. Wolff writes about the boats built in Bath and by myriad boutique yacht builders all along the coast. The final chapter, "Cruising," takes us down the coast, threading the islands, and ending where the book began-in fog.