Ahh–summer reading. Beach books. So many choices so little beach time. Looking for a shipwreck-themed summer read? Ken McAlpine’s new novel Fog is on the top of my beach book to-get list. According to this recent review:
Ken McAlpine’s new book, “Fog,” opens in the belly-of-the-beast tumult that is a shipwreck. There’s a howling gale, and waves foam, leap and rumble across the two-masted schooner Asia’s deck. Captain, crew and others are tossed into the midnight sea. Secrets and pasts are hinted at, as is adventure and the murky rub between good and evil. People are dying.
What unfurls from here is a tale of the shipwreck’s aftermath, an elusive treasure shrouded in mystery, the pursuit of a killer, real-life history from a largely forgotten part of our nation’s past — and ruthless, cutthroat maritime characters called “mooncussers.”
Much of McAlpine’s 233-page “Fog” centers on activities at one of these lifesaving stations in Massachusetts. “Fog” is fiction, but it’s fact-based fiction, or as McAlpine stressed, “It’s based on a lot of real-life history.”
Overall, the book falls somewhere between “disappearing history and rumor,” McAlpine said. That’s catnip for fiction writers — just as shipwrecks are for people.
“In this day and age, most of us live in these incredibly controlled lives,” McAlpine said. “Shipwrecks represent chaos and mayhem, and things we can’t control. We are fascinated by that.
“The sea,” he continued, “is sort of the last wild place.”
I couldn’t agree with him more. Now to get a copy! I think I can argue it qualifies as dissertation research, no?
*Look out for a review of Tom Dresser’s Disaster off Martha’s Vineyard: The Sinking of the City of Columbus (nonfiction) when I can give it the time it deserves. (spoiler: solid research, stirring narrative, fascinating shipwreck–what could beat that?)