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Fisherman's Blues: A West African Community at Sea
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Penguin Publishing Group 2018
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NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR AND PASTE MAGAZINE
An intimate account of life in a West African fishing village, tugged by currents ancient and modern, and dependent on an ocean that is being radically transformed.

The sea is broken, fishermen say. The sea is empty. The genii have taken the fish elsewhere.
For centuries, fishermen have launched their pirogues from the Senegalese port of Joal, where the fish used to be so plentiful a man could dip his hand into the grey-green ocean and pull one out as big as his thigh. But in an Atlantic decimated by overfishing and climate change, the fish are harder and harder to find.
Here, Badkhen discovers, all boundaries are permeable—between land and sea, between myth and truth, even between storyteller and story. Fisherman's Blues immerses us in a community navigating a time of unprecedented environmental, economic, and cultural upheaval with resilience, ingenuity, and wonder.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/13/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780698410848
ASIN:
B073YTBHMV

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Anna Badkhen. (2018). Fisherman's Blues: A West African Community at Sea. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Anna Badkhen. 2018. Fisherman's Blues: A West African Community At Sea. Penguin Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Anna Badkhen, Fisherman's Blues: A West African Community At Sea. Penguin Publishing Group, 2018.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Anna Badkhen. Fisherman's Blues: A West African Community At Sea. Penguin Publishing Group, 2018.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 17:06:25
Date Updated:
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Fisherman's Blues
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NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR AND PASTE MAGAZINE
An intimate account of life in a West African fishing village, tugged by currents ancient and modern, and dependent on an ocean that is being radically transformed.

The sea is broken, fishermen say. The sea is empty. The genii have taken the fish elsewhere.
For centuries, fishermen have launched their pirogues from the Senegalese port of Joal, where the fish used to be so plentiful a man could dip his hand into the grey-green ocean and pull one out as big as his thigh. But in an Atlantic decimated by overfishing and climate change, the fish are harder and harder to find.
Here, Badkhen discovers, all boundaries are permeable—between land and sea, between myth and truth, even between storyteller and story. Fisherman's Blues immerses us in a community navigating a time of unprecedented environmental, economic, and cultural upheaval with resilience, ingenuity, and wonder.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
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        Starred review from November 20, 2017
        Journalist Badkhen (Walking with Abel) delivers an evocative, hauntingly beautiful narrative of life in Joal, a fishing village in Senegal. As she embeds herself within boat crews and frequents the seaside gazebos where the fishermen spend their time on shore, Badkhen lucidly describes the rhythm of the village’s daily life (hauling the catch, building a pirogue), as well as its challenges. Between overfishing, illegal foreign ships, and climate change, Joal’s catch is a tenth of what it was a decade ago. Acutely observant, Badkhen meticulously documents Joal’s cuisine (po’boys with murex sauce); lore (spells for catching fish, genies); and special rituals, such as the sacrificial feast to prevent the sea’s anger. She captures the fishermen, their wives, children, dreams, feuds, and banter, and her writing is descriptive and poetic. Images flash before the reader: the barefoot fishwives “in bright multi-layered headwraps and embroidered velvet bonnets” rushing down to greet the catch of the day, the ancient mounds of shells “among the brackish channels that vein the mangrove flats between the Petite Côte and the mouth of the Gambia River,” and a “murmuration of weavers” flying out of an acacia tree. This is a moving tribute to a traditional way of life facing enormous change.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        December 15, 2017
        A reporter reveals the cultural, economic, and spiritual forces affecting a Senegalese fishing community.For nearly 20 years, journalist Badkhen (Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah, 2015, etc.) has reported on daily life in Africa and the Middle East in six books of nonfiction and articles in venues such as the New York Times and the New Republic. But she had never focused on a population utterly dependent on the ocean. "How," she asks, "does the shifting demarcation line between earth and sea define the way we see the world, shape our community and communality"? For a season, she lived and worked in the West African port of Joal, Senegal, joining in the "primordial sloshing" aboard handcrafted boats that, day and night, in calm or storm, set out into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean for fish. During night fishing, she sailed for 20 hours at a time; on land, she writes, "I dream I am growing gills." Fishing as livelihood, she quickly discovers, is becoming increasingly imperiled by industrial vessels and climate change, reducing the catch to a tenth of what it had been 10 years earlier. "To live off the sea," she realizes, "is to submit to its vagaries, to endure constantly the tension between desire and defeat." Fishermen "rely on miracles for a living," sought through sacrifice and prayer to God and to the ocean, "whose waters carry their fortunes and their sorrows and their dead." For Badkhen, those roiling waters exerted a primordial power: "The ocean bewitches," she writes, "reveals the ancient predator in me." The community bewitched her, as well, and her affection was reciprocated: village children called her Auntie; her name was painted on a ship's bow, as mascot. The author's prose is lyrical, precise, and lucent, whether she is portraying fishermen and their families or the sea at night. "Luminescence weeps into the boat through seams in blinking rivulets," she writes. "You bail buckets of radiances. The outboard motor churns pure light."A highly absorbing chronicle of a transcendent journey.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 15, 2018

        Reporter Badkhen (The World Is a Carpet) describes her experience with fishermen in Joal, Senegal, as a member of a crew sailing on pirogues in search of a bountiful catch. Her lyrical, poetic style relates the struggles of people dependent on a lifestyle that is being depleted by overfishing and warming oceans and altered by technology such as GPS devices as well as fishing trawlers that ignore set limits and boundaries. The straightforward writing recounts clashes between developing and developed nations, and the economy and politics of daily life, while recording the myths and legends of the people, their customs, and their celebrations. Badkhen's keen observation and participatory research results in a book that gives readers a glimpse into what will be lost. VERDICT Those interested in the global environmental crisis and its impact on indigenous societies will be fascinated by this first-person account of learning about other cultures in an attempt to save our planet.--Patricia Ann Owens, formerly at Illinois Eastern Community Coll., Mt. Carmel

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR AND PASTE MAGAZINE
An intimate account of life in a West African fishing village, tugged by currents ancient and modern, and dependent on an ocean that is being radically transformed.

The sea is broken, fishermen say. The sea is empty. The genii have taken the fish elsewhere.
For centuries, fishermen have launched their pirogues from the Senegalese port of Joal, where the fish used to be so plentiful a man could dip his hand into the grey-green ocean and pull one out as big as his thigh. But in an Atlantic decimated by overfishing and climate change, the fish are harder and harder to find.
Here, Badkhen discovers, all boundaries are permeable—between land and sea, between myth and truth, even between storyteller and story. Fisherman's Blues immerses us in a community navigating a time of unprecedented environmental, economic, and cultural upheaval...
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