Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Tom Kelly's "The Boat"
Tom Kelly is probably best known for "Tenth Legion", a great book largely about turkey hunting. A while back I ran across another book of his from The Lyons Press titled "The Boat" with a cover blurb that read in part "One man's quest to build his own wooden boat-". Now, as I science fiction reader, I long ago learned to disregard the cover of a book, as the stalwart figure in the space suit or the exotically-clad woman illustrated there, respectively shooting at or cowering from a BEM, seldom reflects the contents. I think the covers have gotten better with time, but they are still more misleading than not. While the illustration on this book was fine and appropriate, that blurb shows that someone had not read the boat. While the narrative is generally tied together by the story of a boat Kelly built and then used for thirty years, no "quest" is involved in the construction, which is described in a very few general and self-deprecating pages. Rather, the book talks about the history of timber cutting in the South, turkey hunting, fishing, river bottom land and its importance as habitat, and a whole host of other things. Kelly has what sounds to me like a classic Southern voice and the short book flies right by. Just don't expect to read about boat building.