I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and biographies.
Some of the most interesting novels I have read over the years, are those I discovered through a small press publisher. Edward J. Delaney’s gripping novel, Follow the Sun is a prime example of the many hidden treasures from a small press. He has also written two other novels—Broken Irish and Warp and Weft. I am sure I will soon haul in these two exciting novels.
Follow the Sun describes the difficult and dangerous job as lobster men in cold treacherous waters. Quin Boyle is a lobsterman who is down on his luck. He has the demons of drugs, alcohol, and with child support he is unable to pay. One day, he sets sail with Freddy Santoro, with whom he is frequently at odds. Quin recently was released from jail, and Santoro is also facing jail.
Delaney writes, “In his recovery from heroin, Quin had been left with an unsettling rime, an infection of self-awareness he had never thought could be harbored by his DNA. Regret. Shame. In his clear-mindedness, his memory had become sharp, and serrated, and unbidden. He went back to moments that probably only he remembered, things that at age eighteen or twenty-five or thirty were just fleeting moments but had somehow gone dormant in himself, to flare up constantly and unforgivingly (52). […] Quin was learning then that some lobstermen he knew were straight arrows, but most not so much, in varying degrees. Some deck bosses he knew went home after every run to good wives and clean children, made their house payments and maintained their pickup trucks. He saw, in time, that most of these were inshore men. The ones he knew who went out to the Banks, the ones who took too-small boats to too-distant waters, were the ones who were pulled by the risk, and the risk wasn’t limited to putting traps in the water” (52-53).
Robbie Boyle, Quin’s older brother, was a newspaper reporter. Delaney wrote, “Robbie’s forty-three and he has been at The Record twenty-one years. He’s spent that seeming eternity writing for the sports section that once wrote stories about him, and about Quin, when they played all the sports: football, hockey, baseball. Both of them had been very good in that small-town way. There was a time Robbie dreamed of being in the press box at Fenway Park, or at the Boston Garden, covering the big leagues. But his skills were never polished enough, and his ambition never burned sufficiently hot. Tonight he must eventually leave this bar and venture out to cover a boys’ basketball game, and he’s feeling the vise of obligations.
This is a story of tough men, tough waves, scant earning abilities, with always someone on their tail. Robbie tries to help his brother, but he has limited resources. Edward J. Delaney has written a story of desperate men, who Follow the Sun. 5 stars.
Likely Stories is a production of KWBU. I’m Jim McKeown. Join me again next time for Likely Stories, and happy reading!