The Forty Fathom Bank

This novella, set in the longline shark-liver fishery of the 1940s, captures a great deal of the fishing life of anticipation, worry, defeat and reward. Author Les Galloway (1912-1990) spent most of his life as a fisherman and includes great technical detail that, for the knowledgeable provides horrifying foreshadowing.. He originally self published this tale in 1984. From the dust jacket, "Set in San Francisco in the 1940s, this novella of suspense and adventure is also a tale of greed, desperation, guilt, and ultimately, self-discovery. In the tradition of the sea sagas of Joseph Conrad and Ernest Hemingway, it is a deceptively simple and powerful story of a man who goes to sea – and survives horrendous events.

"The narrator, a 29-year-old married man who is down on his luck, tries to make an instant fortune by shark fishing. He acquires an old boat and teams up with Ethan May, an experienced fisherman who also has a lucrative but increasingly worrisome proposition. Far from shore, these two men suddenly find themselves confronting an uncooperative ovean, a failed engine – and each other. "With its lyrical language and subtle undertow of inevitability, this short novel will pull you out to perilous waters."

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