Forty Fathom Bank by Les Galloway

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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 ocean, 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.

About Les Galloway

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LES GALLOWAY (1912-1990), while still a teenager, shipped out to New Zealand as a seaman; a few years later he dropped out of college to enlist in the Bolivian army. For most of his life he was a commercial fisherman out of San Francisco. His stories were published in Esquire and Prairie Schooner.
Published January 1, 1985 by Black Heron Pr. 118 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Then he hires ``weird and honest'' Ethan May, an expert shark hunter, who leads him to fish at the 40 fathom bank (where sharks usually feed) after they agree that the narrator will keep the first three tons of shark they catch and May will take the rest, which could be 20 tons or more.

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One of the two initial entries in this publisher's series of novellas (see The Secrets of the Camera Obscura , below), this odd yet engaging tale involves a young man afflicted with a ``hopelessness of spirit,'' who passes himself off as a fisherman and then discovers that a bountiful catch comes...

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