Always playing second fiddle to his older brother, the Golden Child, Matt was the last person to see his brother, Hale, alive. In their teens, they boarded a boat and only one returned. Obviously, not the one for whom the sun rose and set. The parents and brother distraught, they drifted apart and dealt with the loss differently. Both parents blamed Matt for Hale's death. Matt carried Hale's secrets and kept them from his parents and the world.
Matt drops out of high school and uses his sailing skills to make money. He ends up being hired to sail a boat to St. Thomas so Sam Wells, a faceless victim (in the beginning) could bring his wife to cavort. The winds blowing just so and Matt still pretty full of stupid, he ends up retrieving a whole mess of cocaine, picking up a crew he probably shouldn't have, and getting stranded on Dominican Republic running into all kinds of trouble there.
The story is complex and metaphorical. J.P. White is a prolific poet who can describe the beauty of the Carribean, the islands, women, men, sailboats, and trade winds in explicit detail. Although enjoyable mental images, I found myself re-reading passages to discern whether I was to interpret something metaphorically or literally. I think some of that vagueness (maybe all?) was a planned part of the author's experience.
The author contrasts the beauty of the Carribean with the violence, poverty, and world of crime on the same islands. Prostitution, drug running, murder, bribery, blackmail are in strong contrast to the paradisaical setting. Woven into the story is the human experiences of love, loss, death and dying. The author explores the act of dying, the slow, laborious process, denial, acceptance, and love.
It is poetry.
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The Federal Trade Commission wants me to tell you that I received a copy of this book from Pump Up Your Book in return for an honest review. Thanks, Dorothy!