Tiggie: The Lure and Lore of Commercial Fishing in New England
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Commercial fishing, which tops the list of the world's most dangerous occupations, has long been a magnet for writers and readers. The subject addresses a hunger of the spirit - for adventure, for conquest, for solitude and for communion with the cosmos. "Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy soul in him," Melville asks, "at some time or other crazy to go to sea?" Charles "Tiggie" Peluso and Sandy Macfarlane offer a convincing answer. Tiggie: The Lure and Lore of Commercial Fishing in New England begins more than 30 years ago in a remote cove on Cape Cod's Pleasant Bay, Macfarlane, a young marine biologist newly deputized by the Orleans shellfish warden, gathers up her courage to confront one of the Cape's crustiest, crankiest commercial fishermen, a local legend named Tiggie Peluso. It's more than a contest between youth and age, or rules and reason, or book knowledge and hard-earned practical experience. It's a clash of two strong wills and two warring cultures - a bucolic, rustic Cape Cod that is in the process of changing beyond recognition, and an industry that is losing its past under a tsunami of foreign competition, legalisms and new technology. In Tiggie we hear both their voices. Tiggie's personal stories about fishing in the 40's, 50's, and 60's are at once poignant, matter-of-fact and haunting in his appreciation of the beauty around him, and reverence for all life, especially in the sea. We meet his crew mates and friends, learn about their idiosyncrasies and their humanness, their struggles to make ends meet, their financial binges in good times. We come to understand their disdain for those who try to regulate what they do, their less-than-perfect relationships with women and, above all, their love of the life they have chosen.
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