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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Magic In The Message

"American Catch: The Fight For Our Local Seafood" (2014) is one of those books I want everyone I know to read. Author Paul Greenberg is an old-fashioned idealist, tireless researcher and very talented writer.

"What keeps Americans from eating from their local waters? The answer lies in an intricate interplay of ecology, economics, politics, and taste." Greenberg starts there and his subsequent description of that "...intricate interplay..." is revealed via the Eastern oyster ("...a miraculous natural architect..."), Gulf shrimp ("...the great delocalizer..."), and Alaskan salmon, a fish endangered by mining interests and shortsighted politics. Each of these main sections is educational, sobering, and energizing.  

"All that the sea asks is that we be wise in our harvest, recognize the limits of its bounty, and protect the places where seafood wealth is born. In return the sea will feed us and make us smarter, healthier, and more resilient. Quite a covenant."

Passages like that are proof of what I've repeatedly heard; the best writing is re-writing. This was Greenberg's seventh draft, per his acknowledgments. If you read those first two sentences aloud, their cadence is inescapable. And then his three word finale reinforces the triptychs embedded in the sentences directly preceding it. An important message delivered via writing magic.  

1 comment:

  1. Pat, You have clearly outdone yourself here. Not only have you delivered an excellent book review, you've used your teaching acumen to demonstrate what makes good writing "good". I had always considered writing to be a chore rather than a pleasurable activity. Lately I've been analyzing Neil Gaiman's techniques. None of his writing magic is an accident either. Thank you for sharing your gifts of the pen!