Working the Sea, Updated and Expanded

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Working the Sea, Updated and Expanded

Misadventures, Ghost Stories, and Life Lessons from a Maine Lobsterman

Author: Wendell Seavey

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Working the Sea is the story of a Maine fisherman’s life, a collection of memories and teachings from a master storyteller. Author Wendell Seavey, who grew up in the 1940s in the fishing village that inspired this story, avoids the overly romantic or picturesque language of other fishing and working-class narratives, writing in a true Downeast Yankee voice and candidly describing both the joys and hardships of the fishing life. Seavey is firmly rooted in the fishing traditions of his community and family, and the book reflects these deep roots. But his perspectives and observations are unique and at times unexpected as he travels across the United States, engages in psychic and spiritual activity, develops an environmental philosophy of life, and meets a host of memorable countercultural characters. Seavey also shares practical lessons about approaching life’s “insurmountable obstacles” and getting past them, and about his transformation from a “fisherman-user” to a “fisherman-ecologist” striving to be part of the cycle of life. This new edition includes an account of the author’s two-year sojourn in Texas as well as several other new stories.


Product Info

Trim Size:
5-1/2 x 8-1/2
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About the Author

Wendell Seavey was born in 1938 in Bernard, ME. As a child he spent most of his time with older fishermen who told stories of their lives, which Wendell absorbed and remembered in detail. As he became older, he blended the experience and teachings of these men with his own story. Seavey has lectured widely on lobsterfishing, fishing in general, and fishing communities in the North Atlantic, including at the Mount Desert Oceanarium. He lives in Southwest Harbor, ME.

Reviews/Press Quotes

“Seavey is a born storyteller … and a man with an evolving mind, mulling over and considering the vast changes in recent decades in what the sea once offered and no longer does.”
Maine Sunday Telegram

“Wendell Seavey spins an enchanting, engaging, and sometimes unbelievable yarn of his life as a Maine lobster fisherman … this charming story will captivate you to the end, leaving you longing for a bygone era.”

“This is not some quaint memoir of a lobsterman telling tales. It shatters any stereotypes … it’s hard to put down.”
—Working Waterfront/Inter-Island News

“The tales are bountiful and from the heart, showing life on [Mount Desert Island] in another time, filled with strange voices and the ancient sounds of the sea.”

“Seavey’s stories reveal an intellectual journey and a purpose larger than ego for sharing what he calls his transformation from rough-and-tumble youth to traditional Maine fisherman and environmental advocate.” 
—Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors

“Writing in a style true to his speaking voice, [Wendell Seavey] shares practical lessons about approaching life’s ‘insurmountable obstacles’ and getting past them, and about his enlightenment from ‘fisherman-user’ to a ‘fisherman-ecologist’ trying his best to be part of the cycle of life, neither its master nor—whether through omission or commission—its defiler. This is a grand account by a masterful and unselfconscious storyteller.”
—Arnold Weisenberg, Maine nature photographer

“A nostalgic read for anyone raised on Mount Desert Island or in a fishing community on the Maine coast. Woven through it are truths and philosophical viewpoints from which we could all benefit.”
—Muriel Trask Davisson, Director of Genetic Resources, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine

“A good fisherman is also a good storyteller … with his folksy narrative, this Maine lobsterman spins the tale of his ‘misadventures, ghost stories and life lessons.’”

“In this day of fast-paced, disposable lifestyles, Wendell Seavey is a voice from the past, reflecting a bygone era. His accounts of people living in a close-knit community remind us of the dramatic changes in our society. We all need to remember where we have come from and the impact that small changes have on our future.”
—Ronald Johnson, fisherman

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