To the harsh domain of Rockbound - governed by the sternly righteous and rapacious Uriah Jung - comes the youthful David Jung to claim his small share of the island. Filled with dreamy optimism and a love for the unspoken promises of the night sky, David tries to find his way in a narrow, unforgiving, and controlled world. His conflicts are both internal and external, locking him in an unceasing struggle for survival; sometimes the sea is his enemy, sometimes his own rude behavior, sometimes his best friend Gershom Born, sometimes his secret love for the island teacher Mary Dauphiny; but always, inevitably, his Jung relatives and their manifold ambitions for money and power.
The balance of life on Rockbound is precarious and thus fiercely guarded by all who inhabit its lonely domain, but just as a sudden change in the direction of the wind can lead to certain peril at sea, so too can the sudden change in the direction of a man's heart lead to a danger altogether unknown.
Enormously evocative of the power, terror, and dramatic beauty of the Atlantic sea, and unrelenting in its portrait of back-breaking labour, cunning bitterness, and family strife, Rockbound is a story of many passions - love, pride, greed, and yearning - all formed and buffeted on a small island by an unyielding wind and the rocky landscape of the human spirit.
Canada Reads 2005 Winner!
Nothing sets my heart aflutter like immersing myself in backbreaking sea life of previous eras. I've spent years overheated and thirsty, or chilled stiff along with the crew hauling ropes on the H.M.S. Surprise listening to Patrick O'Brien's tales of the Royal Navy.
Rockbound is no adventure like O'Brien's books, but it satiates the same craving for a window into harder times from the comfort of my twenty first century life. Hearing about hauling line, gutting fish and negotiating the insular and strict social life of a hard scrabble island in Nova Scotia, as well as the humor, folklore, and culture of the people-- I feel set for any time-travel eventuality.
Fantastic narration by James Banning opens the musicality of the the dialect and endeared the characters to me and completely sucked me in to the story.