Allison's Book Bag

Lord of the Deep by Graham Salisbury

Posted on: April 9, 2012

At thirteen, Mikey is the youngest full-time deckhand to fish the deep waters of Hawaii’s Kona coast. He’s been doing the job for three weeks with his step-dad, who is the skipper, when the Crystal-C is chartered for three days straight by two brothers from Colorado who like to think of themselves as fishermen.  Lord of the Deep by Graham Salisbury is a slow-moving narrative of Mikey’s adventure with some fighting fish and some rude clients.

Salisbury calls all of his novels multicultural, because they are all set in Hawaii and his characters are of every race in Hawaii. In the case of Mikey, the mixed races are English, Irish, Filipino, and French Polynesian.

Beyond that one aspect, I’d instead label Lord of the Deep as regional fiction. As such, we learn a lot about big game fishing and the types of fish that live in the Pacific Ocean around the Hawaiian Islands.

On a deeper level, we also read about prejudice of outsiders against locals. In the case of the two brothers from Colorado, they thrive on stereotypes. For one thing, they tell dumb blonde jokes, despite one of their daughters being with them and being blonde. They also show up wearing gaudy shirts that islanders wouldn’t “wear in a thousand years”. Oh, and then there’s the conversation about taxidermists. The Colorado brothers ask Mikey’s step dad if he knows one. When he says the island has some of the best, the brothers smirk: “Kind of like asking a used-car salesman if he has any used cars.”

The Colorado brothers also thrive on image. Case in point, they don’t want a “local rotgut” beer to drink. As a more extreme example, Mikey’s step-dad is one of renown as being one of the best deep-sea charter-fishing skippers but they refuse to listen to his advice. He tries to convince the Colorado brothers that to look for the mahimahi. It’s the best fighting fish and, in his opinion, a fisherman’s fish. The two Colorado brothers reject his notions, arguing instead that marlin are. Ironically, one of the few exciting moments in Lord of the Deep involves a conflict over who should lay claim to catching a mahimahi, when it turns out that they might have a record mahi on board.

My rating? Leave it: Don’t even take it off the shelves. Not recommended.

How would you rate this book?

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